Pacific World have released their 2018 Special Destinations Report, which profiles top destinations and explores why they are attracting so much interest. In Europe, the top countries in demand for meeting planners are Spain, the UK and France. In Asia, planners are looking at China, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Through the creative initiatives of Convention Bureaus, event management companies and targeted communication strategies focused on different consumer demographics, current and emerging destinations continue to generate interest among meeting and incentive planners. In many cases, the growing demand for compelling event experiences is bringing to light destinations that in the past were overlooked.
“More and more, we keep seeing interest for off-the-beaten-track programs and destinations. While known destinations are still preferred for incentives, unique experiences are now in demand. This can be visiting remote places, engaging with local people in a more dynamic way, enjoying the unexpected, or having the feeling of being the first person to visit a particular place,” said Patricia Silvio, Global Marketing Manager of Pacific World. “The different industry players are working together to engage new audiences. By leveraging technology, we’re successfully getting the attention of more people than ever. Convention bureaus, hotel chains, venues and event management agencies are more active now on social media, focusing on more targeted campaigns, collaborating with bloggers and industry influencers, and following marketing trends already practiced in other industries.”
In Spain, newer generations are especially interested in places with historical heritage where they can discover roots and traditions more actively, whether it is getting involved with the communities or getting to know local craftsmen, entrepreneurs, artists, even fishermen who represent the spirit of the destination and are a living testimonial of the culture. Lifestyle destinations known to attract the rich and famous such as Ibiza and Marbella/Puerto Banus, have also grown in popularity for incentives and events.
For the UK, the power of movies, television and pop culture has been quite impactful in drawing visitors. Planners are looking for bespoke offerings in and around London with themed experiences such as those from Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and the recently released Murder on the Orient Express and The Crown, which can all be woven into creative programming. Scotland has also proven to be in demand for unique bespoke experiences highlighting the powerful stories of individuals within the local communities(bag pipe makers, whiskey distillers, etc.
In Asia, the unstoppable hotel boom of China, especially in second tier cities, has been instrumental in drawing meetings and incentive groups. The growth of the Chinese middle-class consumer and relocation of manufacturing plants have made way for many more mid-scale and budget hotels, which in turn provide more event spaces. Some popular off-the-beaten-track destinations in China include Chengdu, well known for being the home of the panda, and Yunnan, a mini country in itself with over 25 different minorities.
In Indonesia, Bali will continue to be a top destination, but the island of Lombok is on the rise thanks to its burgeoning infrastructure and unique cultural and natural heritage. Split programs, combining new areas of Bali and Lombok are demanded on a more regular basis. In the upcoming years, Pacific World predicts a rise in interest for the remote islands of Komodo and Flores, currently attracting leisure programs with their unique fauna, flora and culture.
Overall, Spain is the top country in demand with over 15% of Pacific World’s RFPs worldwide. In Europe, the UK, France, Italy and Monaco follow closely behind Spain with 11%, 9%, 8% and 6% of all RFPs received respectively. In Asia, China tops the list receiving 15% of the requests sent, followed by Hong Kong (13%), Indonesia (12.5%) and Thailand (11.5%).