This region of the world has borne the brunt of the international security crisis, with many countries now on the travel blacklist. Tainted by political instability, even areas that were previously thought of as up and coming, such as Jordan and Lebanon, are now considered by many to be too risky, due to their proximity to war-torn Syria. "Personally, I love Jordan and as a different destination with audience 'wow' factor, it certainly ticks the boxes," says Tina Morris, managing director or events at AddingValue. "But, the Foreign Office advice says there is a high risk from terrorism and clients perceive it to be in a part of the world that is generally under threat. Sadly, we haven't been able to propose it recently."
Elsewhere, things are looking rosier, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai still firmly on the pitch list. "They've always been considered safe and we're witnessing a high demand for these destinations from clients," says Morris.
Meanwhile, Oman is also establishing itself as a popular country for meetings and events, due to its safety, climate and relatively short flight time from the UK. "We chose Oman as an incentive destination because it was unlikely to have been visited independently by the winners," says Jason Sullivan, employee engagement & recognition manager at Colt Technology Services. "Although a destination in the Middle East could conjure up a perceived issue on safety, we carried out a thorough review and risk assessment that quickly identified the risks are minimal, and no different to visiting any other large city in the world."
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