After Paris was rocked by the ISIS attacks in November last year, Europe is no longer considered a safe haven. However, due to its diversity and proximity to the UK, it remains popular with corporate groups. "As a result of the global security risks, I feel like short-haul trips are safer at the moment," explains Alison Williams, L'Oreal's head of events. "We have extremely stringent policies on where we can and can't travel to. Some popular European destinations that are currently considered safe include Italy, Spain and Scandinavia."
Anthony Coyle-Dowling, senior director of event business development & marketing at BCD Meetings & Events, says it's hard to determine which destinations are safe, as the situation can change so quickly. "Everyone would have considered Northern Europe to be safe, but look at Paris and then Brussels. No-one would ever have expected it to be on lockdown. As a result, insurance premiums for group travel have increased."
When considering destinations, he advises the industry to look 'outside the box' and consider less high-profile countries for meetings and events. "Lithuania is a good example. It's got well-developed conference services that meet the needs of modern Europe. It's a safe and friendly destination that's easily accessible from the UK and offers good value for money."
Meanwhile, in the south-east of Europe, all eyes are on Turkey. Once deemed a C&I hotspot, political instability and terrorism are deterring companies. "We used to see a lot of demand for Istanbul as it's a city that can offer delegates a unique experience and it's only a short flight," says Tina Morris, managign director of events at AddingValue. "But we're no longer putting it on the pitch list as our clients don't think it's safe - we've seen a big drop in demand."
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