10 Questions with… Serge Dive, CEO of This is Beyond

All you need to know about the Further East luxury trade show in Bali

This week LATTE chats with Serge Dive, CEO and Founder of This is Beyond Ltd and the disruptive trade show for the Asian luxury travel market, Further East, which is taking place next month in Bali.

 

1. Serge, can you tell LATTE‘s readers a bit about yourself? How long have you been in the travel sphere?

Of course. I’ve been in the travel industry for 25 years, working on the marketing of various travel shows before setting up ILTM in Cannes I subsequently sold to a global exhibition company. I noticed that although luxury travel was being represented on a global scale, off-the-beaten track locations were being overlooked. Not only this, but there was no travel event dedicated to spotlighting experiential travel.

This realisation is what sparked my inspiration for Pure Life Experiences, the first show in the This is Beyond portfolio, launched in 2009. Since then, our family of global communities has expanded to a number of shows around the world, all with the intention of reframing the conversation around different subjects such as experiential or contemporary travel, or how to rebrand Africa, or promote the value of the Asian and Australasian continents.

I like to refer to our shows as immersive events that reshape industries into inspired communities through experiential marketplaces and un-conferences for the high-end travel industry. The aim is always to inspire, while igniting conversations surrounding sustainability and how we can all do business that changes the world for the better.

2. Can you provide us with an overview of Further East? 

Further East runs over the course of four days, and in keeping with our belief in doing business differently, was created from my vision of barefoot business in Bali.

The show starts with our first-ever Further East Open House by the House of Beyond; our exciting festival-like thought leadership event and casual networking opportunity in a beautiful beachside setting. This year’s show theme is ‘New Horizons’; which is a promise to look forward to the future with excitement after all the region has been through.

One of the things that set our shows apart are the parties – another means of celebrating our communities being reunited. We also have our Community Project; another chance for delegates to connect with fellow Further Easters while doing good.

Although this year’s Further East is bigger than ever before, our hand-curated guest list and one-on-one meeting structure will always ensure it is an intimate travel trade experience like no other.

3. When and why was Further East launched?

Further East was born in 2018 with a mission to create a one-of-a-kind marketplace in Asia that celebrates the continent’s rich heritage and powerful future. After launching, a dynamic new community in an incomparable location was formed. Although originally created to highlight authentic Asia, Further East has now expanded its scope to include the wider APAC region, inviting them to become a part of the community, too.

4. Where is this year’s event being held – why this location? – and is Further East held annually at this same spot?

Yes, Further East has been held in Bali every year. We keep returning for a number of reasons. Hosting the show in a large city would not fit with what it’s all about. Bali combines the perfect mix of tradition, spirituality and forward thinking that embodies Further East.

The location, on the beach at Alila Seminyak, is perfect for barefoot luxury.

5. Who are among your key suppliers and buyers and where do they come from?

Our exhibitors come from all over the APAC region, representing the best the region has to offer. We have a really diverse range from across the region including Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and Australia this year, and our buyers come from all over the world, specialising in the APAC region.

We are lucky to work closely with some wonderful partners and local suppliers in Bali, too.

6. How many suppliers and buyers are you expecting at this year’s event?

We are expecting between 450 – 500 delegates from across the world.

7. What is the vibe you’re getting from both suppliers and buyers about business as we move out of the pandemic?

Both suppliers and buyers seem incredibly excited about the return of the show, and about moving on from the pandemic.

Further East 2022 will be similar in size to the 2019 edition, which is amazing considering what the region has been through. We have a good mix of both returning and new exhibitors and a great representation from Australia and the South Pacific as we open up to this region. We also have a number of partners wanting to be more involved than before. It’s truly wonderful to see the region in high spirits again.

8. What are some of the key aspects of Further East and how do buyers benefit by being part of the community?

Further East is focused purely on luxury travel within the APAC region and is an invite-only show.

Buyers that specialise in the region can apply to join us at Further East and be safe in the knowledge that they will be meeting with the best the region has to offer. We also have many new openings in the region attending, as well as a high number of exhibitors that only attend Further East – meaning this is the only place to meet with them.

9. What is your view of luxury travel in Asia at the moment, and where do you see it heading in the next few years? (How far off do you think the market is from full recovery from the pandemic and back to levels of 2019?)

I think there will be an emphasis on travel that gives back and meaningful travel – the luxury market wants to ensure that suppliers live up to the messages of sustainability and community.

Wellness and sustainability are two key points for buyers – we are seeing many new wellness or eco-resorts open and even established suppliers ensuring that they now have a focus on these aspects.

Some regions in APAC are seeing better numbers now than pre-pandemic and as the region continues to open and make travel easier I expect this to grow and see more people try to rediscover or uncover this diverse region.

10. And what are some of the enduring, or new, challenges facing the luxury travel market in Asia and how can these obstacles be faced and overcome?

I think that hesitance is one of the main obstacles the luxury travel market in Asia is facing.

During the pandemic the APAC region was one of the first regions to be hit and was sadly one of the worst affected regions too, which has meant strict border restrictions are only just being lifted.

That said, as confidence to reopen grows we are seeing a hugely positive reaction from travellers wanting to visit the region again. In fact, many buyers are using this opportunity to grow their knowledge of the region and widen their offering to include more of the still undiscovered APAC countries.

Further East will take place from 7-10 November 2022 at Alila Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.
For more details go to furthereast.co/.

LATTE is a proud media partner of Further East.

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