Nice to meet you!
We are the Tomato Travel team, and we are here to provide you with everything you need for your next Japan holiday. Our mantra is “healthy, innovative, excellent”, and we put this at the heart of everything we do.
“For people who travel with us, the priority is to provide a healthy travel experience right from the beginning, from the first point of contact.”
Our Managing Director, Derek, has more than eight years’ experience in the travel industry.
Derek has travelled to Japan too many times to count, and his love of Japan is demonstrated through his knowledge and expertise when he creates our products and tours.
One thing that team members will agree on is that Derek is genuinely passionate about growing the business and promoting Japan, and that he is highly motivated when it comes to being successful in the market with partners, agents, suppliers and customers. It’s his unwavering enthusiasm, optimism and genuine passion for the industry and for Japan itself that helps to motivate the people around him!
Beyond the office, Derek loves to get outdoors whenever he can. His interests include travelling, surfing, hiking and spending time with his family.
“Our goal at Tomato Travel has always been to attract enthusiastic, like-minded, talented people who can bring new ideas to the table and help us expand our business. I feel like we have accomplished that with the amazing team of people we have, and we can only keep getting better.”
Penny has been a member of the Tomato Travel team since the word go!
Penny’s multi-faceted role as Tour Operations Manager means that she not only leads and directs our operations teams in Sydney and Japan, but that she also liaises with airlines, hotels, suppliers, tour coaches and many, many other important people to make the Tomato Travel dream a reality.
As a passionate advocate for Japan tourism, Penny loves sharing her own Japan experiences with our customers to ensure that they have the absolute best holiday imaginable.
No matter how many times she travels to Japan, she is always amazed by the diverse landscape and culture. Her favourite places to visit in Japan are Hiroshima, Kyoto, Takayama and Shirakawa-go.
“Travel always inspires me, and I love sharing my experiences to make our customers feel as inspired as I do.”
Katrina enjoys collaborating with the team on the best ways to provide our customers with new and innovative products, and she is passionate about providing friendly, helpful, prompt customer service.
She enjoys working at Tomato Travel because she says she always feels supported and her own ideals are in line with the company’s vision. She believes there is always room for improvement, and wants to strengthen her management skills and grow with her team to become a reliable, supportive and open-minded leader.
Having travelled to Japan a number of times, Katrina’s favourite Japanese experience is soaking in a natural hot spring at a full-board ryokan. Her next dream trip involves walking along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route during summer.
Katrina loves travelling and immersing herself in other cultures, learning about history, and trying local cuisines.
“I want to create products that not only I but our customers are happy with. There are so many attractive aspects of Japan, and I want to tell our customers all about this amazing country through our tours.”
Originally from Yokosuka, Japan, you couldn’t choose a better Product Manager than Kozue. With years of experience in the travel industry and an insider knowledge that can’t be beaten, Kozue is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to facts, tips and information on Japan.
She says that the reason she likes working for Tomato Travel is because she feels that all her colleagues share the same goal, and the team’s enthusiasm encourages her to improve every day.
It also gives her the opportunity to create unique itineraries that she hopes our customers will enjoy. From rare and interesting cultural and historic insights to famous must-see sights, Kozue is the one who makes sure every aspect of our tours is just right.
One of her favourite things about Japan is the food. Whether it’s a traditional kaiseki ryori meal or a konbini bento box, Kozue says that Japanese food is the one thing that constantly amazes her with just how good it is!
“I love the diversity of this team. In my point of view, every single member of this team is feeding my creativity like never before.”
As the driving force behind the marketing team, Leo has a true talent for capturing the real essence of Japan in his work, allowing our customers to imagine themselves already on holidays, or to relive their special memories.
With a background in design and marketing, Leo joined the travel industry because he sees travel as a way to find unexpected opportunities by getting out of one’s comfort zone.
He also believes that there are always new things to be learned, and he especially loves using innovative technology to bring new and exciting ideas to life.
During his next trip to Japan, he wants to search for Captain Tsubasa’s soccer jersey, the main character from the famous Japanese manga that fuelled his passion for soccer as a kid growing up in South America.
“There’s so much planning that goes into our itineraries; every last detail is accounted for. We want our customers to experience Japan on a whole new level and come home with a million wonderful memories.”
With seven years’ experience in tourism, three years’ experience in advertising, and a ten-month stint living in Japan, Chloe is the newest member of the Tomato Travel team.
She has a true passion for Japanese history and culture, and she loves sharing her knowledge on these subjects (just make sure you sit down first, because she can talk for hours).
Chloe enjoys working for Tomato Travel because it gives her the chance to work with an incredibly supportive team who share her values, and allows her to create quality content about a destination she is genuinely passionate about.
Her favourite places in Japan are Koya-san, Nagasaki, Nagano, Sendai and Miyajima, and she thinks ninjas are way cooler than pirates.
In her spare time she loves reading, writing, and going to live gigs.
“All team members at Tomato Travel love Japan and put conscious effort in every day to create a healthy and positive environment.”
With a background in customer service and years of experience in the travel industry, Tomoyo is our talented, friendly, hard-working Tour Coordinator.
Tomoyo’s day is always jam packed, liaising with our Japan office to organise tours and develop products to make sure our customers have the best experience possible, from start to finish.
Her goal at Tomato Travel is to ensure that all of her team mates feel supported so that together we can all create positive travel experiences for our customers.
Tomoyo originally hails from Kyushu in Southern Japan, but she’s called Sydney home since 2013. She says her favourite place in Japan will always be her hometown of Kagoshima, which is known for the (very active) Sakurajima volcano.
Living in Japan, Tomoyo’s favourite activities involved getting outdoors, visiting hot springs and hiking and climbing with her family. She also has a love of cooking home-style Japanese food.
Now she enjoys exploring the hidden gems of her new home every chance she gets.
“At Tomato Travel, we provide the means for anyone to have an enjoyable experience and make happy memories.”
Rebecca is a reservations superstar who has previously spent two years living in Japan.
Rebecca loves Asian culture, knows her way around the Japanese alphabet, and is fascinated by both old and new Japanese traditions. In particular, Rebecca has a special place in her heart for the old capital of Japan, Kyoto, and her favourite place is Mo-an Café where she loves eating seasonal deserts and watching the world go by.
In fact, it was Rebecca’s interest in Asian culture and her love of travel that first inspired her to move into the travel industry.
With so much information at the tips of her fingers, Rebecca loves sharing her experiences, knowledge and expertise with customers to create their perfect holiday escapes.
When she’s not booking dream holidays, Rebecca enjoys bike rides and hunting for milk tea cafes, as well as watching Asian dramas.
“There is so much out there to see. The world may be already completely explored and navigated, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't see and live it for yourself.”
Robin brings a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to the role of Reservation Specialist, as well as a deep passion for all things Japanese.
Robin is a dedicated team member and all-round reservations whiz who loves helping customers however he can. The reason he enjoys working in a small, tight-knit company like Tomato Travel is because it combines two things he’s very passionate about – Japan and travelling.
Having travelled to Japan previously, he finds that his favourite places are the small, quiet Tokyo bars and cafes tucked away inside multi-storied buildings, overlooking the neon city below.
One of his favourite things about Japan is that it seamlessly fuses together old and new traditions. “Being able to go to a traditional, serene temple and then to a neon lit suburb, bustling with people and the sounds of life all in the same day makes Japan a one-of-a-kind place.”
In his spare time, he enjoys watching anime, playing games and learning Japanese.
“For me, Tomato Travel is not only a workplace, it’s also like a big family. Everyone here supports each other. I am really happy and proud to work for Tomato Travel with all my lovely colleagues!”
Ellen is an energetic and proactive team member with a keen eye for detail, and she delights in solving complex issues and overcoming new challenges. In short, Ellen manages to make accounting look fun.
Ellen has been a part of our team since 2018, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce – Professional Accounting from Macquarie University and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Newcastle.
The reason why Ellen was drawn to the travel industry is because of her love for travel. She says that the chance to experience a different culture, different foods and different sights is a huge drawcard for her, and working in the industry gives her a chance to learn more about the world.
Ellen’s favourite part of Japan is, quote, “Oh Deer, Nara!”
She says that hand-feeding the adorable bowing deer in beautiful Nara Park is one of her most enjoyable memories.