Our Team


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.


Managing Director

“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.

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Head of Operations

“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.

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Head of Sales and Customer Service

“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. 


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Product Manager

“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!

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“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.

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