by Lee Xin Hui | September 22, 2017

What makes a DMC powerful? We narrowed down to companies with the most established links, market knowledge and years of experience (a minimum of 10) in the region. These are the players who will be shaping the future of destination management.

*Disclaimer: Please note that the destination management companies are not listed in any particular order of importance. 


Farewell Dinner at Universal Studios Singapore.

East West Planners


Janet Tan-Collis, Chief Executive, East West Planners

Profile: East West Planners specialises in experiential solutions for corporate, business and leisure travel, with services extended to on-site training and education for hospitality staff. Its core businesses include PCO, destination management, event management, corporate meetings, conferences, incentive programmes and team building in South East Asia, Hong Kong and China. The company has Authorised Training Organisation status and ACTA accredited trainers. Its clientiele includes travellers from the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Australia and China. 

Case Study: For ISMRM's closing party, East West Planners gathered 3,500 participants at Makansutra Glutton's Bay for an evening under the stars with local fare and music. This addressed the client's wishes of a non-ballroom venue, and also reflects Singapore's capability to hold large-scale events. 

Year Established: 1982
Market Presence: Singapore (HQ);12 offices in Asia with rep offices in the U.S. and Germany.

Tour East 

Shigeyuki Suzuki, president & CEO, Tour East Holdings

Profile: In 2014, the company was acquired by Japan-based JTB Global Marketing & Travel. Working with sister company, JTB Global Marketing & Travel, it is able to expand its offerings across Asia Pacific. Tour East offers services for inbound and MICE, including corporate meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions and edutainment tours. Continuous investments in technology has provided the company with an advanced and user-friendly online platform for reservations and event management technology solutions.

Case Study: While it was challenging to host a large Australian incentive group of 1,200 pax for an outdoor dine-around event, Tour East managed to find an ideal location that matched the client's expectations: They bought out all the restaurants there, with every detail - from menus to special requirements and space allocation - executed to perfection.

Year Established: 1972
 Market Presence: Singapore (HQ); 15 offices in the Asia Pacific region.

Pacific World
Profile: Part of Destination Services, Hotelbeds Group, this Singapore-based integrated company acts as a one-stop shop for  events globally with solutions including destination management, event design and production, strategic meetings management and PCOs. In April, Pacfic World formed a strategic alliance with AONIA, to bolster its client services.

Case Study: For its cosmetic brand client, it designed a unique conference and exhibition experience in Bali for 1,600 pax where a local village - complete with a temple - was recreated under a tentage in Nusa Dua Bali.

Year Established: 1980
Market Presence: Singapore (APAC HQ); offices in 38 countries across Asia, EMEA, South Africa and America. 

World Express 

Darren Tan, managing director, World Express

Profile: World Express provides individual and group travel services in Singapore and the region. The company also has extensive experience in MICE, leisure and cruise events management, conferences, incentives, special interest tours, adventure travel, ground transportation and cruises. Last year, it was recognised as a finalist for the Best Incentive/Meetings Organiser under the Singapore Tourism Awards 2017 for its Morinda China incentive programme involving 150 top distributors.

Case Study: Last year, World Express handled a private cruise charter for the founder of a large software company, with a 300-pax star-studded group comprising Hollywood celebrities, Nobel laureates and authors. Arrivals and departures for all guests were through JetQuay's private terminal, and personal guides were on hand for customised outings, shopping sprees and excursions. 

Year Established: 1969
Market Presence: Singapore (HQ); Offices in Malaysia and market presence in Thailand, Turkey, China, Casablanca and Dubai.


Gwangjang Market in South Korea. 

Jane Tour & DMC
Profile: The Seoul-based DMC was founded in 2006 by Jane Han, who comes with three decades of travel-related experience. Since then, Jane Tour & DMC has hosted companies such as Amway, Citigroup and Nu Skin, with a focus on delivering unique programmes tailored around Korean traditions and fun, creative activities. The business handles mostly inbound tourists from Middle East, Europe and South East Asia, 
and MICE. 

Case Study: During a four-day three-night annual company trip for JJ Suppliers from Johor, they arranged a strawberry-picking farm experience for the 20-pax group, a team-building mission at Gwangjang Market, the oldest traditional market in Seoul, and a sumptuous seafood feast at Noranjin Fish Market. 

Year Established: 2006
Market Presence: Seoul (HQ); Offices across South Korea, Singapore, Jakarta, New Delhi, Shanghai and Norway.


A dragon boat race in Hong Kong organised by Tomco Incentive & Travel

Tomco Incentive & Travel 


Kevin Leung, marketing director, Tomco Incentive & Travel

Profile: The company focuses on the Greater China region and aims to provide its knowledge and services to any cities within China. Since 1997, it has also been working in the Russian-speaking markets, allowing them to have an in-depth understanding of the Russians and delivering the level of services demanded by the segment.  

Year Established: 1993
Market Presence: Hong Kong (HQ), Beijing.
Website: Currently undergoing a revamp. 


A Vietnamese basket boat ride organised by Abercrombie & Kent. 

Abercrombie & Kent 
 Profile: Since pioneering the luxury safari in Kenya, the U.K.-based international luxury and adventure tour operator has expanded to offer meetings, incentive travel, conference and events services. Company-wide, A&K offers additional benefits such as global corporate indemnity insurance, tailor-made itineraries and a 24-hour emergency contact. 

Case Study: In Southeast Asia, they have helped organise memorable incentive itineraries including meals in a temple in Cambodia, an ex-Prime Minister's residence and an Iron Chef Champion's restaurant in Bangkok; and unique experiences like a Vietnamese basket boat ride to the Water Palm Forest and a trip to a private island in Southern Thailand.

Year Established: 1962
Market Presence: 51 offices in 26 global destinations including Asian branches in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Mynamar.

Asia World   
 Profile: Asia World Destination Management (AWDM) specialises in customised start-to-finish event planning with inspired and creative solutions for its clients, which have included Beechams, Volvo, Toyota, AFLAC, Astra-Zenneca, IBM and Compaq. It also provides customer insurance policies for all clients in Thailand, a branded transportation fleet and multilingual guides. Its main source markets are Europe, North America, Asia and Russia.

Year Established: 1997  
Market Presence: Bangkok (HQ); 
10 offices in Thailand and 18 around Asia including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Asian Trails   
 Profile: In May, the company underwent a change in ownership from Kuoni Global Travel Services to Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited-controlled Thomas Group India. Asian Trails' founders, Chairman Luzi Matzig and CEO Laurent Kuenzle, and team remain at the heart of the company's operations, which offers services including wholesale leisure and travel services, MICE, team building, tour packages and adventure-based programmes. The company has launched various new technological platforms, most notably, its "Explore" product range.

Year Established: 1999
Market Presence: Bangkok (HQ); 
33 offices in 8 countries in Asia. 

Buffalo Events
Profile: The MICE division of Buffalo Tours was launched in 2016 to support corporate clients and MICE agents, to address client demands for small group specialist event services focusing on unique experiences and CSR objectives. Buffalo Events' key services include meetings, incentives, team building, social programmes,logistics and accommodation. 

Case Study: The client wanted to venture off the beaten track. As such, Buffalo Events planned a five-day itinerary comprising Halong Bay, Hanoi and Mai Chau Valley. The highlight for the group was getting to lend a hand in a road-building project in Na Chao village.

Year Established: 1994
Market Presence: Bangkok (HQ); 
11 offices in Asia.

Destination Asia
Profile: This independently-owned company specialises in East and Southeast Asia, with the Thailand and Vietnam branches the first to be established. Last year, its Malaysia office launched a new PCO division, while the head office was shifted to Bangkok. Its clients include incentive houses, cruise lines, convention, exhibition and conference organisers, tour wholesalers and tour operators, associations and business travel organisers. 

Case Study: It catered to a construction business incentive group of 200 with unique venues such as the Happo-en gardens in Tokyo, and a complete rent-out of the Toji temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kyoto. Entertainment included high-class geisha, professional taiko drumming, and a rent-out of a sports bar for an All Blacks rugby match.

Year Established: 1996
Market Presence: Bangkok (HQ); 
11 offices in Asia.

EXO Travel 
 Profile: Formerly known as Exotissimo, EXO Travel was rebranded in 2015. The company started out operating inbound tours in Vietnam and was the first foreign-owned company to be granted a tourism operating license there. Today, it is still privately owned and operated by founders, Olivier Colomes and Hamish Keith, together with the Apple Tree Group. The company offers a wide range of solutions such as MICE, adventure and responsible travel, with specialisation in tailored "Experience Our Asia" tours. This March, it commenced operations in Singapore. 

Case Study: For a 180-pax insurance company's incentive, EXO planned an active, rugged experience in Myanmar. Guests went on a guided trek through traditional Burmese villages and spent a night in a monastery. They also played football with locals, visited a Pa'O home, and participated in a bonfire gathering with traditional entertainment provided by the villagers. 

Year Established: 1993
Market Presence: Bangkok (HQ); 25 offices in 10 countries throughout Asia.

Intas Destination

Sonia Lazo, managing director, Intas Destination.

Profile: A multi-disciplined DMC and tour operator in the Philippines, Intas provides tour operators and MICE organisers with professional ground-handling services. Its inbound operations cater mainly to the European, Americans, Australian and Asian markets concentrating on: tour programmes for wholesalers, special interest tours; incentive tours; meetings and conferences; and group activities. 

Case Study: In 2015, Intas organised a "Survival El Nido" themed incentive trip for a Spanish finance company. To offer an exclusive experience, the organisers wrote to the government requesting for the islands to be closed off for a few hours. In addition, the programme had a CSR element, which saw the client giving back to the community in the form of school supplies for the local children. 

Year Established: 1981
Market Presence: Metro Manila (HQ); Offices in Philippines, Maldives and Sri Lanka
Website: (currently undergoing revamp; relaunch is targeted for end-August). 


Gala dinner at the National Concert Hall, Taipei. 

 Profile: Taiwanlook is part of GIS Group, a meeting solution provider specialising in congress, meetings and events; congress technology; convention centres; and catering. GIS Group was the first company in Taiwan to establish a DMC in 2007. Taiwanlook's services include corporate conference management, event planning, theme parties, team building and logistical arrangements. Its main customers are conference groups from the Americas, Europe and Southeast Asia especially Singapore.

Case Study: In 2015, Taiwanlook organised a French cosmetics company's annual Asia Pacific Conference Meetings for 100 participants. Highlights of the event included a gala dinner in the National Concert Hall next to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. 
Market Presence: Taiwan 
(Taipei HQ)
Year Established: 1991 (GIS Group) / 2007 (Taiwanlook)


Panorama's Indonesia Comic Con 2016 held in Jarkarta. 

Panorama JTB Tours 

Budi Tirtawisata, CEO, Panorama Group.

Profile: In February, Panorama Group divested 40% shares in Panorama Tours Indonesia to JTB Group; the enlarged entity has since been renamed Panorama JTB Tours. The company has 51 outlets spread across the Indonesian Archipelago. Leveraging on the JTB brand and PTI's sales channel, the company is looking to further expand its domestic operations in both leisure and business travels, in particular, Japan corporate MICE and also to grow its outbound business. The company's main businesses include retail and business management, corporate travel management, Orange Incentive House, and a franchise network through the Panorama World brand. 

Case Study: Panorama organised the Indonesia Comic Con 2016 at the Jakarta Convention Center, which saw over 28,000 attendees. The two-day event brings the best pop culture experience from East and West in celebration of comics, anime and collectibles. Highlights include a cosplay competition, marketplace for pop culture products and star appearances such as Brianna Hildebrand, the Negasonic Teenage Warhead from Marvel show 'Deadpool'.

Year Established: 1998
Market Presence: Jakarta (HQ); 
53 branches spread across 24 cities in Indonesia.

 Profile: Travel management company Dwidayatour is one of the oldest and largest corporate and leisure travel agencies in Indonesia. DWI Tour handles domestic and inbound travel packages while Dwidaya Nusantara Convex is its events and incentive programme arm. Its full range of products and services include: flight tickets, tour packages, cruise packages, corporate travel services, hotel reservation, travel documents, MICE, airport assistance, travel insurance, foreign exchange, online booking tool and 24-hour emergency services. Dwidayatour is said to be among the top 10 travel agents for most major airlines operating in Indonesia. 

Year Established:1967
Market Presence: Over 90 branches in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Golden Rama   
 Profile: Golden Rama offers integrated and tourism services across its 11 offices in Indonesia. The company provides a variety of travel solutions such as international and domestic packages, cruise, and pilgrimage tours. Corporate services include corporate incentive, corporate travel management and incentive tours. 

Case Study: Some past thematic corporate incentive tours include "A Festive Turkish Night" in Istanbul, where guests were entertained with bellydance performances, a costume party and "A Bird's Eye View" where permission was obtained to have hot air balloons fly past Buckingham Palace. 

Year Established: 1971
Market Presence: Jakarta (HQ); 
11 offices in Indonesia.

Smailing Tour DMC 
 Profile: Formerly Smailing Tour Bali, it was rebranded to Smailing Tour DMC as Smailing Group of Companies expanded its business across Indonesia. Smailing Tour DMC has over 95 full-time travel and event management professionals based in Bali and Yogyakarta, who can organise gala dinners, product launches, team building, and provide event management, audio/visual, branding elements and stage production. Smailing also offers 24-hours service, business process consulting, and travel policy analysis and control. 

Case Study: During a three-day Bali retreat for 2,100 leaders from Herbalife Asia Pacific in 2015, the company created a Balinese village atmosphere in the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center ballroom and provided entertainment that included traditional Balinese dances and a song from each participant's country.

Year Established: 1976
Market Presence: Jakarta (HQ); 7 branches and 17 implant-offices throughout CBD and greater Jakarta and Bali

China International 

Travel Service (CITS)
Profile: CITS began as a foreign affairs reception unit under the State Council in 1954 before becoming a state-owned enterprise group offering integrated travel services in China. It is said to be the only tourism company among the country's Top 500 Enterprises, with real assets estimated at RMB10 billion (US$1.47 billion). In 2000, it successfully passed the ISO9001 Authentication of its quality service system. In 2004, it merged with China Duty-free Group, incorporating it into the CITS Group Corporation. Services include special interest and adventures tours; business forums or inspection tours; government tours; incentive and corporate tours; educational programmes; technology exchange programmes; VIP packages; and society exploration tours. 

Year Established: 1954
Market Presence: 122 branches in China and 14 offshore subsidiaries in the U.S., Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Demark, 
Hong Kong and Macau.

Uni Core Communication 

Profile: Uni Core Communication (UCC) is a board-listed subsidiary of Beijing based Utour Group Co., Ltd, a leisure and travel company principally engaged in outbound wholesale and retail travel services and MICE tours. 

Through its three subsidiaries, namely, UMICE (Beijing) International Conference Service L.L.C, Uevent (Beijing) Public Relations Consulting Co. Ltd, and Beijing UEXPO International Conference & Exhibition Service Co., Ltd, UCC is now a one-stop provider of integrated marketing services with incentive tour business as the foundation and event and PR planning as core. Having fine-tuned its business model, UCC now offers six core services: brand marketing support; PR planning and implementation; conference incentive tour operation; creative and visual application designing; exhibition project; and mobile application development. 

Year Established: 1992 
(Utour Group Co); 2016 (UCC was listed).
Market Presence: Shanghai  (HQ for Utour).
Website: Currently under revamp.