I started a travel company during the Covid-19 outbreak

Challenging the status quo

Rachael Annabelle


Aerial shot of Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand, by @knottedbrains

When I tell people, I am launching a travel start-up in the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic, they tend to laugh it off.

One of them burst, “Wow, what a lousy timing for a travel-related business… any pivots in mind?”

Frankly speaking, there isn’t any travel happening now. With coronavirus ravaging through the globe, tourism has come to a complete standstill. Planes are now grounded, agencies are offering refunds, and tourist attractions are being shut down. 84% of global travelers have had their travel plans impacted by COVID-19.

My reply? “It is the perfect time to start a travel company now”.

Yes, no one expected a virus to cause the tourism industry to come crashing down. That said, it does not mean that all hope is lost.

With countries enforcing travel bans and shutting borders and when the industry has never been slower; where much bigger and established companies are attempting to cut their losses by retrenching hundreds of staff, forcing the rest of their workforce on unpaid leave, and struggling to cope with the demand of refunds, it buys us time to lay the foundations of our business. And we’ve taken this opportunity to build up our idea when our competitors are busy putting out fires.

My product focuses on exotic and sustainable travel for groups, especially people from Gen Z, the first generation of truly digital natives. They’re visual and experiential creatures.

Yet, right now, millions of them are locked down at home with pent up wanderlust, having graduated from college and being forced to re-think their post-graduation plans.

These feel-good travelers want to roam the earth, in an attempt to better themselves and the places that they go to. Covid-19 presented an opportunity for me to re-think the current travel trends and habits, and redesign the process of discovering beautiful destinations.

Beyond that, my team believes that travel can be a force for good and that our solution can play a part in nation-building, by changing the perception that people have of various countries using compelling visuals and stories.



Rachael Annabelle

knottedbrains.com | googler. founder @gullie.io. photographer. creative consultant. pasta fanatic & occasional nerd.