Joost de Meyer, CIS, CITE, CMM, ACC, Chairman and CEO, First Incentive Travel is a strong advocate for SITE and the incentive travel industry around the world. He has been an active SITE member for 16 years, served on the association’s International Board of Directors, 2007-2010, and has held roles on the board of the SITE Florida and Caribbean Chapter since 2005. He was co-chair of the host committee for the 2013 SITE Global Conference in Orlando that, for the first time, included a Student and Young Leaders Conference in conjunction with the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, where he is a member of the advisory board. In 2015, Joost was honored with the SITE Master Motivator Award.
MICE Japan is a professional MICE marketing consultancy in Japan and Korea that provides destination marketing services to CVBs and Convention Centers in Asia and all over the world. MICEJapan also publishes a magazine in Japan that advocates for the importance of business events.
In an interview with MICEJapan, Joost shares how establishing a SITE Chapter in Japan will help develop the country's incentive travel market.
MICEJapan: Please tell us about First Incentive Travel and your purpose for visiting Japan.
Joost: First Incentive Travel was founded by Mr. Fons Kuppers and was focused on sending delegates from the Netherlands to the USA. I joined the company in 1999 and became the owner in 2000, subsequently establishing new offices in Florida, New York, San Francisco, Miami and Las Vegas. The majority of our business is developing incentive programs for incentive groups from Europe traveling to the USA, and the rest is incentive planning for groups traveling from the USA to Mexico, Caribbean and Europe. Recently our clients have expressed increased interest in Asian destinations like Singapore, Thailand and China. Japan has great potential to attract a larger number of incentive groups especially with the 2020 Olympic games. During my most recent trip to Asia, I visited Tokyo, Seoul and Hanoi and attended the SITE Global Conference in New Delhi, India.
I have been a member of SITE for 16 years, was a member of the International Board of Directors for 4 years and was recognized as Member of The Year in 2005. In 2015, I was honored to receive the SITE Master Motivator Award, which is given to a SITE member who has made significant contributions to SITE and the global incentive travel industry. From Japan, Mr. Lucky Morimoto, President, Event Services, Inc. was recognized as SITE Master Motivator in 2012. Additionally, I have worked to develop the incentive travel industry in other countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Poland and the USA.
MICEJapan: How will establishing a SITE chapter in Japan help develop the country's incentive travel industry?
Since its formation in 1973, SITE was known as Society of Incentive Travel Executives. In 2014, the name was changed to Society for Incentive Travel Excellence to better represent and communicate the association’s mission and purpose.
Being a member of the SITE network is a valuable way to build up relationships with other global incentive travel professionals and collaborate with other SITE members to gain knowledge and creativity. An increase in SITE membership around the world means an increase of business opportunities for members.
I have worked with SITE members in India and China to establish and grow their chapters. For example, during a SITE Conference I met Rajeev Kohli, Joint Managing Director, Creative Travel Pvt. Ltd., who was the only SITE member from India attending the conference. Rajeev and I worked together to organize a meeting at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi to inform the MICE industry about SITE. About 40 people attended the meeting and that was the beginning of the SITE India chapter. The chapter started with 20 members, organized the SITE Executive Summit in India and in 2015 hosted the SITE Global Conference in New Delhi. SITE India has grown to more than 60 members and Rajeev is serving as President of the SITE International Board of Directors in 2016.
Because of the SITE Global Conference, India has become well known as an incentive travel destination. Hosting the Global Conference is a great way for a country to showcase its incentive travel products to SITE members from all over the world and offers a valuable opportunity to develop new business. I strongly believe that Indian members will gain more business because of the Global Conference.
Currently there are only 4 Japanese SITE members and we need 20 members to establish a local chapter. SITE and the SITE Foundation offer valuable resources, research and education to help Japanese incentive travel professionals develop their knowledge and skills and increase the number of SITE members in Japan. By actively engaging with SITE, I believe Japanese members can work to establish a chapter and will benefit from the same success as India and China.