Travelling … it Runs in the Family

Zara Vinkesteijn was awarded her Associate degree in Tourism Management at BUas in 2021. Her father, Jeroen Vinkesteijn, graduated some 35 years earlier.

"I’m afraid I was influenced by my father to a slight degree when making a study choice,” says Zara. “Travelling really runs in the family. And because my father is a teacher at BUas, I’ve picked up quite a lot of course. We’ve been to Dubai together because he thought that I had to see and experience ‘man-made’ tourism. That’s how I ended up in a Tourism programme. To be honest, I didn’t feel like studying for four years, so I opted for the two-year Associate degree programme very consciously.”

“It was a three-year course in my student days,” says Jeroen. “I really didn’t have tourism on my mind, but I was eager to go to Breda. I first tried St. Joost Academy of Arts, but eventually I went to the Nederlands Wetenschappelijk Instituut voor Toerisme en Recreatie. It was not easy at all to enrol on one of their courses for that matter. What they preferred was that their students had already gained some experience. Many boys, for instance first entered compulsory military service. I remember I had to do a selection interview with Ton van Egmond, who was the teacher of psychology. During this interview you were assessed on suitability for tourism. All prospective students had to do an interview with him; the institute was so small-scale. I was once walking in the corridor when the president accosted me. Mr Bodewes it was. I was invited into his room and was offered a cigar. Yes, honest. I was nineteen! It’s hard to imagine this happening now, isn’t it? This man knew all students by name, and knew exactly who were a couple. We used to play Risk with him for many years.”

Adapting and persevering   

Meanwhile, BUas has over 7,000 students. “And still, this is also okay,” says Zara. “Lecturers are very accessible, and always willing to help. Contacts are very nice although I attended online classes for almost a year due to corona. That’s pretty much as part of a two-year course. Online education works very well for some of the classes; what you mostly learn is to adapt and persevere with your studies. I still thought it was a pity that we couldn’t do certain projects on campus, for example the Emerald Forest Hotel project. The funny thing is, it’s a simulation my father has developed, and I worked with it during my studies. It’s a kind of game in which you’re running a hotel in conjunction with other students. You learn, for example to do commercial calculations, and how you can subsequently take a decision to the best of your ability.”


“I developed the game together with colleagues,” Jeroen explains. “Normally speaking, we play it live on campus indeed, but Zara had to do it fully online. We designed it in such a way that online playing is also a possibility. It’s an international simulation in which a virtual hotel has a central place. The game encourages the creativity of the participating students. As a management team they take over the hotel, with everything that’s involved in it. Operational management, calculation, promotion via social media. We now play it in over ten countries because the hotel concept that everything revolves around is recognisable in almost the entire world.”

Young team

“I found it very nice to do,” says Zara. “Before I went to BUas, I’d also attended a hotel & catering course, so I certainly have an affinity with the hotel world. It’s good to know that this game is an integral part of the curriculum of the Associate degree Tourism Management, and not only of the Hotel Management programme of BUas. My work at is also linked to hotels, for that matter, although I’m mostly engaged in payments; the routing of payments. Totally different from what I learned during my studies, but I like it. The main reason for that is that it’s a very young team. is the main sponsor of the Dutch Grand Prix and we went to visit the Formula 1 races in Zandvoort with the entire team. That was great!”

Peace & quiet, space, and recreation    

“Rather complicated, the things she does. Mistakes shouldn’t be made with payments of course. I find it very clever, and am really proud. When I’d just finished my studies, I became a host on location. Zara has already passed that stage,” Jeroen laughs. “Later I became the head of animation at an RCN campsite in Zeewolde. ‘Peace & quiet, space & recreation’ was our creed. With 7,000 people! Fortunately, in numerous hectares; I really learned a lot. I also worked as a tour leader at TeleTravel, and as a field researcher for the television programme De Vakantieman presented by Frits Bom. Those are the nice things really.”

Online Marketing Professionals in Education

“I eventually started working at VNU Media, a Dutch publisher of magazines. That’s where I set up the travel magazine branch, and in this way, I ended up in marketing. At BUas, I now teach digital marketing and I conduct research, mainly in the field of social media; how do you use them optimally? What I like about working in education is that you can share your knowledge with many people. Together with some 70 colleagues of other higher education institutes I’ve set up a network organisation, which I call OMPIE. It stands for Online Marketing Professionals in Education. We visit a company twice a year to gain some new knowledge. I once took Zara with me as an invitee when I visited GoSpooky.”

“That was really cool,” says Zara. “GoSpooky say about themselves they do things with social media that the big brands don’t understand yet. I learned a lot there. And it’s also a very young team, just like my team at”

“And these are the guys I mingle with,” laughs Jeroen. “That’s what I find wonderful!”


I’m afraid I was influenced by my father to a slight degree when making a study choice; travelling runs in the family

Zara Vinkesteijn, was awarded her Associate degree in Tourism Management at BUas in 2021