Fast and furious is how incentive travel is coming back to APAC

SITE’s latest webinar focused on incentive trends for 2023 and beyond.

Seoul is among the many destinations in Asia Pacific seeing a strong demand for incentive travel.
Seoul is among the many destinations in Asia Pacific seeing a strong demand for incentive travel. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/eyetronic

Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea and Japan are leading the resurgence of incentives within Asia-Pacific.

This is according to Michael Welsh, executive director, global sales, meetings and incentives at Accor. Welsh was speaking at a recent SITE webinar, entitled ‘Resumption, Recovery, and Renaissance for Incentive Travel’.

Accor’s Welsh outlined how incentive demand was equally strong in Asia as in other regions such as North America, despite the fact that the region had been slower to open up compared to others.

“Our hotels [in the region] are humming and people that are going to resort destinations in Asia are trying to stay as long as possible - they might have to work but they are going to enjoy the destination and opportunities for rest and relaxation,” he said.

“In terms of forward bookings there is lots of interest in Bangkok, Phuket, Danang, Bali, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka. Our company anticipates strong pent-up demand has been released as restrictions have eased across the region.”

The webinar also featured insights from Mark Zanetti, incentive specialist at Destination Canada, and Cate Banfield, COO at event management company Wynford and previously vice president, experience & event solutions at BCD Meetings & Events.

Banfield said clients are running multiple programmes to make up for lost time and that the idea of ‘transformational’ travel is more important now than ever.

“Attendee experiences that are authentic are critically important - an event is no longer a set of dates but an opportunity to build content and experiences that allow people to participate in a destination in a much deeper way,” she said.

Zanetti said there is a ‘vital need for uniqueness and creativity with incentives’, with particular emphasis on wellness and environmental, social and governance themes.

The webinar was hosted by Padraig Gilligan, chief marketing officer at SITE, who said that incentive travel is back and in full force, quicker and more comprehensively than any of SITE’s research had predicted.

“We have found ourselves in a new normal much quicker than we thought,” he said. “It’s been a whirlwind year with new destinations and [incentive] quality expectations shifting too, as well as there being a renewed focus on sustainability.”