Pieter Kuijs, former CEO of the Zonvaart Travel Group, will tell you all about how it all began:
"In the beginning of the nineteen sixties, flying to a holiday destination outside of the Netherlands quickly began to gain popularity. Back then Mallorca and the Spanish mainland were the most popular." My father, Piet Kuijs sr., Realized as a good businessman that foreign holidays were literally going to fly. That is why he founded Reis en Passage Bureau Zonvaart in April 1964 and started a tiny travel agency in the Burgemeester Mooystraat in Castricum. This was soon followed by a second agency in Heerhugowaard. After a few years there was a collaboration with Reisbureau De Magneet in Beverwijk and Heiloo. When Reisbureau De Magneet was taken over by Holland International during the great merger wave in the travel industry in the early 1970s, the cooperation ended and the expansion of Reis en Passage Bureau Zonvaart took shape and became a member of the Coöperatieve Vereniging Toerkoop Reisburo (i.e. Coöperative Association Toerkoop Reisburo). From that moment on the name Toerkoop Reisburo Zonvaart was used.
After we first opened an agency in Alkmaar (De Mare shopping center) and later in Uitgeest, we successively took over several travel agencies in Heiloo, Zandvoort and Beverwijk. Later followed by the takeover of Reis- en Passagebureau Orion B.V. in Heemskerk and another new agency was opened in Velserbroek. The expansion continued steadily with in 1994 the opening of a travel agency exclusively for last-minute trips and telephone bookings, the Discount Travel Shop. Not much later there was the takeover of the Broere Reizen agencies in Den Helder/Julianadorp and Hoorn in 1997. In the years that followed, agencies were opened in Anna Paulowna, Medemblik, IJmuiden and Enkhuizen. The business travel department was given its own location in 1999 and presented itself under the name Zonvaart Reizen Business Travel.
Since the year 2001, the name of the Discount Travel Shop has been changed to Zonvaart Reizen Web & Call Center and from that location, for all agencies, we took care of telephone bookings that are made outside opening hours and deal with all internet bookings reserved via the websites. In 2003, both Anko Tours in Haarlem, a travel agency with a specialization in trips to international exhibitions and fairs, and the Globe Reizen agencies in Anna Paulowna and Uitgeest, and the GoodBookers agencies in Castricum and Limmen were integrated. Later, the travel agencies of Vlotman Reizen in Bergen, Broek op Langedijk and Nieuwe Niedorp, the GoodBookers agency in Egmond aan Zee have been added to the Zonvaart chain and over the years the activities of ANWB Travel Agency in IJmuiden and Alkmaar have also been taken over. Also the Globe Travel Agency in Noord Scharwoude and the Holland International Travel Agency in Heiloo were added to the Zonvaart chain.
Family business with great appearance
Zonvaart canceled the membership of the Cooperative Association Toerkoop Reisburo in 2012 and became a shareholder in the Dutch Travel Alliance (DTA) (back then: Veluwegroep B.V.). Because of this the addition Toerkoop from the name needed to disappear and the travel agency chain named itself: Zonvaart Reizen. Together with all the websites and facility services that are launched and provided, the chain is now called the Zonvaart Reisgroep or Zonvaart Travel Group. The Zonvaart Travel Group is still a family business run by me; Pieter Kuijs and my wife Carla Kuijs-Bijman. A small staff and short management lines ensure that the travel company can initiate new projects in the increasingly rapidly changing travel industry and can respond quickly to changing situations, natural disasters and security threats. The Zonvaart Travel Group is now over 50 years old, we provide travel services and itineraries for more than 100,000 people annually from our agencies throughout North Holland. With nearly 100 employees, Zonvaart Travel Group today ranks among the top 5 largest independent travel agents in the Netherlands. And to top it all off, in 2016 we were proclaimed by the trade association ANVR and Schiphol as Best Travel Company of the Netherlands!"