Site’s new president Paul Miller, managing director of Spectra DMC in London, told C&IT: "The long-haul incentive is back. The industry is on an upward turn from a global perspective and we’re seeing a trend that Europeans are beginning to travel further afield."
However, shorter incentive programmes look set to continue.
The US domestic incentive market has seen a reduction in the length of incentive programmes from an average of seven days to four days, according to Site executive board member Philip Eidsvold of Aimia.
There is a similar trend in Europe, as Aoife Delaney, director of global sales for Ovation Global DMC, explained: "Incentives for Europeans used to be around four days, now it can be two to three days, so it is slightly less than it used to be before the recession."
Speaking from a global perspective, Miller said: "There has been a slight reduction in the length of trips in some regions. For example, international incentives to the US now average five days, instead of six. This is happening because, from a business standpoint, many companies do not want their top executives to be out of the office for extended periods of time."
The outlook for the global incentive travel sector in 2014 is optimistic. Delaney said: "We’re seeing that budgets are slightly larger, there is a lot more positivity in the market, RFPs are juicier and chunkier and the finance and insurance industry, in particular, has really bounced back."
Site, a global network for professionals in the events and incentive industry, hosted its three-day annual executive conference this weekend (31 January to 2 February) at Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.