Barbara Katsifolis

I consider Borneo & Beyond to be a boutique travel agency and my main objective is to bring travellers and local communities together. I believe this is the key ingredient in creating authentic and meaningful holiday experiences.

I am well-travelled and started my own travel business with the vision of being that little bit different to everyone else out there in an industry which is highly competitive and driven by profits. Travel companies chasing the tourist dollar often put a lot of pressure on consultants resulting in the loss of what has always been most important to me – personalised customer service.

Born in Germany, my passion for travel was sparked during a Contiki tour right here in Australia many years ago. As soon as I returned home I found myself a job in the travel industry, first in Germany and then here in Australia where I live with my husband and two children.

Over the past 25 years, I have extensively travelled with my family and believe that travel is the best education out there. The list of benefits is endless starting from developing language skills, an understanding of geography and more importantly it helps all of us to experience diverse cultures away from the influence of the media, politics and common misconceptions.

Over the past few years, I’ve become involved in Eco-tourism while working as a home based travel consultant. During that time I built many custom itineraries for clients travelling to Sumatra and Borneo. Responsible travel ethics have become the cornerstone of the programs I customise with my local providers at each destination.

I procrastinated for many months on the path I should pursue in my travel career. Returning into a retail office had lost its appeal as I wanted to continue my passion for Borneo and continue working with my growing network of local suppliers.  At the same time I wanted to be able to organise all my clients’ travel needs whether that be to Borneo or Beyond. By that time I had gained a lot of insight in local wildlife conservation efforts and started to support the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah on an ongoing basis.

I finally found the ideal solution and joined Travel Partners as a mobile travel agent trading as Borneo & Beyond. Being part of this strong group allows me to confidently sell anything my clients are looking for, while continuing to specialise in tailor made unique Borneo experiences.

Giving back

My exposure to wildlife conservation programs and responsible travel options  has inspired and motivated me to find a way to promote my experiences as part of my travel business and give back to local communities by supporting accommodation and initiatives that are owned and run by local communities.

Fundraising, volunteering and embracing the local way of life in the places I visit have given me the most memorable and rewarding travel experiences. They continuously inspire me to share these experiences with as many people as I can to raise awareness.