About Exotissimo The Exotissimo Story
The Exotissimo journey began in 1993 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, when the company was established by three young entrepreneurs Eric Merlin, Denis Colonna and Olivier Colomes. At that time Vietnam was emerging from years of isolation and Exotissimo was the first foreign company to be granted a tourism operating license in Vietnam.
The company was an immediate success as Vietnam opened up to intrepid and curious travelers, arriving in great numbers to explore this exciting destination.
1995 saw further growth in SE Asia when Exotissimo partnered in Myanmar with Su Su Tin to open Exotissimo Myanmar. The company quickly built a reputation as a ground-breaking and pioneering travel company, providing high-end international services within exotic and remote destinations.
By the turn of the millennium, Exotissimo had become a successful destination management company specializing in providing a deeper, cultural experience for tour operators with clients that wanted to understand a destination rather than just see it. Incentive operators also began taking an interest in Indochina and Exotissimo was the first to operate groups in Halong Bay, Hanoi and Bagan, building unique and imaginative programs in unusual and less explored places.
A year later a deal was made with Thai based tour operator Hamish Keith to open Exotissimo Thailand. Exotissimo had a winning formula they have kept to this day and been the key to their success - focus on the experience and introduce clients to local people, places and cultures.
At the same time the company established sales offices in France and Spain and had become a market leader in both countries. In 2004 Denis left the company and Jean-Marc Merlin (Eric's brother) joined the board.
In 2005 a Head Office was established in Bangkok, Thailand, with Olivier Colomes as CEO and Hamish Keith taking on the role of COO, leading a team to centralize sales, marketing, technology and strategic management. Exotissimo's reputation as the leading destination management company providing top quality services and creative tailor-made touring in Asia was growing fast. This fresh approach with unique travel products attracted a diverse international client base, with further sales offices soon established in Germany (2005), North America (2005) Australia (2007) the UK & Ireland and Latin America (2012).
In 2009 Indonesia became the sixth Exo destination when Erik Meriot and Trisna Agustini became partners in Exotissimo Indonesia. Then in 2011 Exotissimo Japan was opened by Ines Zand in Tokyo. The opening of both destinations was driven by strong demand from Exotissimo's clients.
In 2012, Exotissimo opened their eighth and largest destination, China, capping an unprecedented period of expansion that saw Exotissimo grow out of Southeast Asia into the wider Asia region. Led by Olivier Marchesin from the Beijing office, China represents the strength of Exotissimo's business and desire from clients for unique, in-depth programs throughout Asia
Today Exotissimo has 20 offices and over 600 full time staff working from our destination based offices in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and China. Although now a large global business, Exotissimo remains firmly committed to its roots in each destination.
Each Exo country is managed by the original local partners as well as an experienced General Manager who is responsible for the operations and reservations in their country. There are also dedicated teams in place within each destination for adventure, MICE and luxury, supported by multilingual reservations teams.