Interview with Xavier Oury, founder of Vialala, a participative travel agency

How do you build a career as an expat spouse? To answer this question, Mondassur spoke to Xavier Oury, a former expatriate in Taiwan and founder of the online travel agency Vialala, which enables expatriates to work freely from home, wherever they may be. Discover his project!

And to make the most of your experience abroad, alone or with your family, Mondassur advisors are on hand to advise you on the health insurance solution best suited to your situation.


Could you introduce yourself and tell us why you decided to set up your company?

Hello, I’m Xavier Oury, and with my partner Yan Tamalet we founded Vialala, the first travel network between private individuals. This isn’t our first entrepreneurial project, and we’ve already been involved in France’s broadband adventure. Both passionate about travel, we wanted to create the first player in the travel sector to take 100% account of the evolution of services in general towards the provision between private individuals of services previously reserved for companies. Vialala is the first platform to enable the design and resale of tailor-made trips between private individuals. Of course, Vialala is an Atout France-accredited travel operator under French law, and we guarantee all services booked on our platform; flights, local transport, accommodation, activities, it’s possible to create and offer complete trips, and above all tailor-made travel becomes a right and not the prerogative of the luxury sector. Because with, every trip is personalized and created with the help of a local expert, giving you access to the best addresses in the jungle of Do It Yourself offers that the Internet has become.

Could you tell us a little about expatriation, and in particular the countries you’ve lived in?

I’ve personally lived abroad for several periods of my life: for example, I spent just under 2 years in Taiwan during my work placement, and more recently I lived in Morocco for around 5 years. I have also lived in London on several occasions for shorter periods. Expatriation is always an enriching life experience on every level. When you like to travel as a bonus, you get a taste for discovering new cultures, exploring nature, or taking part in certain sporting and cultural activities. And you learn a lot, you experience a lot of different things.

How can I organize my vacations abroad or become a travel agent with your site?

Organizing your vacation abroad with us couldn’t be easier. On, we put you in touch with the Travel Planner best suited to your needs (language, destination, interests, etc.) by allowing you to explore the travel ideas of the community’s Travel Planners. Then we’ll discuss your stay with you until it’s completely customized , and all you have to do is book. Thanks to our peer-to-peer system, you get a 100% tailor-made holiday at the same price as if you had done all the research yourself. It’s a huge time-saver, and an undeniable cost-saver.
To become an independent Travel Planner, all you have to do is fill in your Travel Planner profile. The next step is to create an initial idea for a trip, to be validated together before launching; each service is clearly presented to travelers, and the related services are detailed, along with prices. Once the offer has been published, the next step is to promote it, usually via social networks. As part of our launch, we are also investing in traditional online advertising for the most promising offers.

What advice would you give to a young expatriate in Taiwan or elsewhere?

First of all, always behave with respect for the culture of your hosts, for example by not staying only among French speakers. On the contrary, socialize with your colleagues and be open to meeting new people. And do all you can to make your daily life as “local” as possible. This state of mind will enable you to make the most of this unique period of your life.

Do you have specific advice about life in Asia?

My advice is to immerse yourself in Asian culture and spirituality. Buddhism, Japanese Shinto, Confucianism, the discovery of Chinese civilization and Japan are all fascinating subjects for a Westerner, and the history of the region is a must-know when you move there. Exchanges between Europe and Asia, and in particular the history of the Silk Road, are a fascinating field. I particularly recommend “Voyage d’une Parisienne à Lhassa” by Alexandra David-Néel, and “Bouddhas et rôdeurs sur la route de la soie” by Peter Hopkirk.

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