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60 seconds with… Joost de Meyer

Passionate about travel from an early age, Chairman and CEO at First Incentive Travel, Joost de Meyer, was born in the Netherlands and is a hospitality industry veteran having worked in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Austria, Croatia and Spain, before making the move across the Atlantic to Florida in 1997.

Based in Orlando, de Meyer became a partner in First Incentive Travel, which focused on inbound travel for international groups visiting the US, before buying the business. He then added First Incentive Travel International, offering services to US clients wanting to hold incentives and meetings abroad, and later partnered with Liberty International. Joost was an active member of the SITE Florida Board for almost 10 years, a member of the SITE International Board of Directors from 2007-2011, and named Member of the Year at the SITE International Conference 2005.

Brand promise
Flexible, creative and passionate about travel. We are also a very international company made up of mostly Europeans, so between us speak a number of different languages and understand different cultures. This means we can truly understand how our European client’s think and work.

What’s trending in 2018?
Incentive guests want more free time in their programmes – they want to experience the destination, meet local people and give back to the community, which is why CSR programmes are so popular. We are also seeing shorter programmes due to time and budget constraints and an interest in second tier destinations such as Budapest and Dubrovnik.

Luxury defined in 140 characters…
For me, luxury means to feel free. It’s about finding remote and exclusive spots in the world where not many people have been, and truly experiencing the hotel and destination in a special way.

Townhouse or treehouse?
Definitely a tree house or a country hotel.

The bucket List
I would love to see more of Africa and explore places like Zambia and Botswana. I went to Namibia for nine days and loved it. I’d also like to go somewhere different like Greenland, maybe on a cruise, and I really want to visit the Ice Hotel in Lapland, which is built from scratch every single year and looks amazing.

Foodie favourite
I love Thai food and I am very glad the SITE conference is going to Bangkok. I love Asian food and we are lucky to have several great Thai restaurants in Orlando.

Aperol or agua?
A glass of red and my favourite wine has changed over the years. It used to be Spanish or French, but now I’d go for a Argentinian Malbec.

Old fave
La Mamounie in Marrakech, because it is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen.

Proud moment
I am heavily involved in associations such as SITE and MPI and two of my proudest moments were in 2005, when I was named SITE member of the year, and in 2015 at the IMEX gala, when I became a SITE Master Motivator. Being recognised by your industry for the work you do is really emotional. Mentoring and seeing young people in become successful in the industry also makes me proud.

Bragging rights…
I have visited 140 countries in the world, experienced many different cultures and met so many people, which is something not many jobs allow you to do. After the SITE conference in Delhi, we took a tour to Nepal which was recovering from the earthquake – meeting people in that situation and learning their culture is something you keep in your mind for the rest of your life.

What inspires you?
Meeting other people and hearing their stories. I am always a bridge builder and really enjoy putting people in touch with each other.


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