After a four-year dry spell,
U.S. firms are
once again considering Asia as a viable incentive destination.
Many suppliers from the region were optimistic one week after
the Motivation Show, the incentive travel and product exhibition
held in Chicago Sept. 28-30. Among them was Jane Schuldt, CITE
(right), president of Minneapolis-based World Marketing Group, who
said she was “overwhelmed with work” in following up on leads and
requests for proposal regarding the region.
“If my projections hold up, business this year will be just 11
percent off my highest year,” said Schuldt, whose firm represents
hotels as well as destination management companies, including
Pacific World, one of the largest DMCs in Asia.
Terri Steinberg, national market development manager for
Singapore Airlines, secured two pieces of business during the show
and anticipates more to come.
Gabriel Tseng, vice president, United States and South America,
for the Singapore Tourism Board in New York City, also sees a
strong 2005 and 2006.
Planners and suppliers noted that while groups are coming back
to Asia, many are interested in different destinations this time
around. Mike Helin, founding partner of the Ambassadors Group, an
incentive company based in Newport Beach, Calif., said his clients
are particularly interested in China.
Schuldt said 80 percent of the requests she received this fall
are for China, followed by Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia
Vietnam and Cambodia are of interest to Carlson Marketing Group’s
customers, according to Mary Ryan, CMP, senior sales planner for
the Minneapolis-based incentive firm.
Even Japan, a country that has attracted little U.S. incentive
business in the past, is anticipating growth. Bruce Kanfer,
director of sales and marketing for the Japan Convention Bureau,
said requests for proposal have increased in the past 12 months, as
planners look for fresh destinations for top performers.