Asia Pacific’s incentive appeal is on the rise

Two travel management agencies share their positive outlook for the year.

Sanjay Seth, MD, Asia Pacific at BCD M&E (left) and Michelle Sargent, director, Australia & New Zealand, CWT Meetings & Events update on client demand.
Sanjay Seth, MD, Asia Pacific at BCD M&E (left) and Michelle Sargent, director, Australia & New Zealand, CWT Meetings & Events update on client demand.

With several destinations in Asia-Pacific having fully reopened their borders in the last month, some for the first time since the onset of Covid-19, demand for incentive travel has gathered pace

Michelle Sargent, director, Australia & New Zealand, CWT Meetings & Events, says there is great appetite for incentive travel.

“More so than ever, people have been starved of travel and have spent the past couple of years dreaming and saving for their desired holiday,” she says. “For many, travel is now the greatest form of incentive, with people’s appreciation of travel and incentives as a whole having increased. Those with the opportunity to earn a place on an incentive are much more engaged and motivated to do so.”

While the wow factor is still a very important part of the incentive, Sargent says it is no longer considered the number one priority. Rather, exclusive alternatives are in demand, be that private air charters or exclusive use of an adults-only area at a resort.

“Boutique hotels, luxury trains and the like are most favourable, and provide attendees with an increased level of confidence in terms of health and safety,” she says.

Sanjay Seth, managing director, Asia Pacific at BCD M&E, is seeing a strong demand for travel from clients that even region-wide trips are appealing at this stage, such is the pent-up demand for travel. Having said that, he believes travel to more exotic locations offer an even greater appeal as an incentive destination; clients are also ready to spend more when travelling to these destinations.

“The measured but evident opening up of vaccinated travel lanes, relaxation on quarantine requirements and pre-departure or on-arrival antigen tests are just a few reasons our customers are keen to reboot their incentive travel programs,” says Seth. “For some of these organisations, these programmes - a hallmark of their employee engagement strategies – were the reason employees chose to join their organisations to begin with.”

BCD M&E is seeing interest in destinations such as Macau, Japan, Australia, Singapore, while CWT Meetings & Events says the South Pacific, including destinations such as Fiji, are proving popular.

“New Zealand has also been a very popular destination for incentives, with many clients having booked incentives for the last two quarters of this year,” says Sargent. “Thailand has also been on the radar following TCEB’s work with the sandbox project – they have excellent processes in place already for receiving international groups with ease.”



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