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Meet the Vivu Family

Vivu Journeys was founded by CEO, Tran Trong Kien, and his handpicked team of travel experts.

Tran Trong Kien
Founder & CEO

I started travelling in 1994 as a guide taking people around Hanoi on self-created, culturally illuminating experiences while finishing my degree in medicine.

We now have several hospitality businesses that continue creating amazing connections. Other than running our businesses, I am honoured to chair the national tourism advisory board which has contributed to Vietnam becoming one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations in the world.

I have witnessed many changes over the years in our businesses, but also the constant: the spirit of adventure, authenticity of our products, and enduring strength of our company culture. Vivu Journeys is re-treading my first steps but to the next level and indeed to the world. I am delighted to help this great team with my experiences and bringing the Vietnamese culture to the world.

Chris Farwell
Managing Director

I caught the travel bug at an early age when my family took short vacations to escape the cold Canadian winters. This search for warmth and new experiences led me to move to Australia, Singapore, and now Portugal.
The best part of living in these foreign countries is interacting with locals and becoming one myself. On my own travels, I continue to try to gain this sense of truly knowing a place.
After ten years working in travel with six years at a DMC, I am excited to lead Vivu Journeys to share this feeling with all our travellers.

Deborah Youl
Director of Sales, Product & Marketing

I fell in love with travel aged 18 whilst exploring the magical Middle East. Two years finding home and routine in extraordinary locations created a buzz for me that has never left.

My career in the industry began 20 years ago and now with ten years DMC experience I feel incredibly lucky to join the talented Vivu family.

Vivu is a beautiful Vietnamese word meaning ‘to travel with a free spirit’. To me this encapsulates the joy of creating extraordinary experiences usually only stumbled upon by locals, encouraging real connections between our travellers and the communities we live, love and work alongside.

Thuy Tran
Global Reservations Manager

Working in the travel industry for 13 years has given me opportunities to travel to amazing destinations and places I’ve fallen in love with.

Travel to me means making friends with the locals, respecting their culture and going to places to truly explore.

Our culture at Vivu Journeys is health, kindness, and growth which are also the personal values I live by.

It’s an amazing place to work every day, knowing we are doing our best to connect travellers to unique, real and local experiences

Lee Ballard
Country Manager, UK

My love of travel really came after I graduated from university. From the snowy hills of Canada to Australia’s sweltering outback, four years of exploring and learning stirred my passion for travel.

Seven years later I am lucky to have worked in the industry representing some of the worlds best hotels, experiences and DMCs.

A move to UK Country Manager for Vivu Journeys is a dream come true and I feel very lucky to be able to combine my passions for travel, people and cultures to showcase my home country.

Van Nguyen
Finance Manager

During my childhood I was barely aware of countries outside my home of Vietnam, this changed when I joined the industry over 10 years ago.

Now my mum uses a Vietnamese phrase to describe my passion, comparing me to a horse, always eager to gallop into new fields. I love seeing beautiful scenery, listening to local stories, and tasting the local food.

I head up finance and risk management at Vivu Journeys helping us ensure sustainable development of the business. I’m in love with our mission to bring a healthy and happy environment for our customers, our people, and our communities.

Tom Cranshaw
Product Manager, UK & Ireland

My passion for travel grew alongside my love for languages. At 19, I moved to Beijing to study Mandarin and was exposed to a myriad of new cultures, experiences and people.

Being able to immerse in a different world through visitor’s eyes enticed me to the travel industry and filled me with a desire to give our Vivu customers the same memorable experience I had. 

I am so passionate about the UK and love to explore this great nation – I especially love meandering through the Broads in Norfolk, mine and Nelson’s home county!

Elodie Courzadet
Business Development Manager, France

I have always been passionate about travel and new cultures. I moved to Asia over nine years ago to join the DMC sphere (leisure & business travel).

I discovered such a unique world and I am extremely grateful for all the amazing memories especially in Thailand and Myanmar. Every single day over there taught me the simple connection with others is the best thing in life. 

Back in Europe, I am very happy to join Vivu Journeys as I know we are eager to deliver authentic and local experiences in Asia and also in Europe.