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Off the Beaten Path

How to size up emerging destinations for incentive travel

Incentive travel is, fundamentally, a trip that offers participants once-in-a-lifetime
experiences that they are most often unable to easily afford on their own. Today’s
incentive travel planners are seeking new destinations that provide unique,
authentic, and memorable experiences. There are many destinations that fascinate
incentive planners — countries that offer great experiences in culture, gastronomy,
or adventure — and emerging and unconventional destinations may be best able
to deliver something different.

However, to be considered ideal, an emerging destination must be able to demonstrate that
it has a solid infrastructure, sufficient airlift, four- and five-star hotels that can accommodate
groups, experienced ground suppliers, interesting cultural activities, and off-site venues. It should also be actively investing in tourism, offer good value for the money over traditional destinations, have strong potential for promotion, and enjoy economic and political stability.

four- and five-star hotels that can accommodate groups, experienced ground suppliers, interesting cultural activities, and off-site venues. It should also be actively investing in tourism, offer good value for the money over traditional destinations, have strong potential for promotion, and enjoy economic and political stability.

A poor climate, health concerns, terrorist threats, and uncertainty about safety negatively impact the destination choice. This is why it is so important for incentive planners to have strong relationships with trusted DMCs and ground suppliers to ensure that they have all of the facts and are not just reacting to what is in the news. Local suppliers can advise you of the real situation and can help with due diligence to assess any potential impacts on your event.

Fam trips, trade shows, and industry events are effective ways for planners to learn about and
experience an emerging destination for themselves. You learn the most by firsthand experiences, and there is no better platform for that than the SITE Global Conference. With 2,000-plus members in 88 countries, the SITE global community serves as a valuable source of information on emerging destinations and incentive travel trends. I encourage you to join our community to connect with experienced incentive travel professionals from almost any destination in the world.

During this year’s conference — Nov. 5-7 in Panama City — delegates will explore for

themselves Panama’s potential as an incentive travel destination through experiential learning and illuminating pre- and post-tours. To whet your appetite for Panama — and to learn about three other emerging incentive travel destinations – please turn the page.

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