Emerging Destinations: Top emerging destinations

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Contact: Fiona Scott Wilson, BVI Tourist Board

Tel: 020 7355 9585

Email: infouk@bvi.org.uk

Website: www.bvitouristboard.com

P&MM has taken three groups to the BVIs in the last 12 months, and director Nigel Cooper believes it is a perfect incentive destination. "It is a total experience, like the first time people visit southern Africa," he says.

Hotels include the Long Bay Beach Resort, the Prospect Reef Resort and Treasure Isle, but hiring a flotilla of yachts to explore the islands is one of the most popular incentive ideas. Cuan Law I, for example, is a trimaran more than 30m long that can sleep up to 20.

There are no direct flights to the BVIs from the UK but the main gateway of Antigua is only an hour away from the islands. British visitors do not need a visa and there is only a four-hour time difference.

CHILE

Contact: Chile Convention Bureau

Tel: +56 22 63 47 11

Email: cpt@cptchile.cl

Website: www.visit-chile.org/convention/

Chile was named by nearly all the agencies that responded to the survey as a destination with potential. Business Travel Team joint managing director Rachael White attributes its rising popularity to the number of DMCs now represented in the UK and the development of quality hotels by chains such as Starwood and Four Seasons.

"The only thing holding it back is the frequency of flights," she adds. Groups can fly with LanChile, part of the One World alliance along with BA, or The Grass Roots Group's operations director Mark Taylor suggests groups choose Iberia. "They can do the short hop to Madrid then fly directly to Chile, avoiding delays with US security," he says.

DMCs such as Turismo Turavion suggest groups include trips to the wine regions near the city of Santiago, a visit to the Andes Mountains and the Atacama Desert.

ESTONIA

Contact: Ene Palmiste, Estonian Tourist Board

Tel: +372 6279 774

Email: ene.palmiste@eas.ee (or info@estonia.com)

Website: www.visitestonia.com

TFI Group operations director Jonathan Lamb says Estonia is "a very beautiful country, and is ideal for groups that have already visited Budapest or Prague and are looking for a similar destination".

The former Soviet state will join the EU this year, and the Estonian Tourist Board is currently setting up a convention bureau, having identified MICE tourism as a priority for investment in three of its major towns.

Currently 60 per cent of conferences held in Estonia take place in the capital, Tallinn. Hotels include the 280-room Radisson SAS and the Sokos Hotel Viru, which has recently opened a convention wing capable of accommodating up to 500 delegates. The Saku Suurhall conference centre can seat up to a total of 6,000.

The university town Tartu offers a number of boutique hotels, while Parnu, in western Estonia, is popular for incentive groups because of its spa product. Direct flights to Tallinn, operated by Estonia Air, depart from Gatwick six times a week.

GREENLAND

Contact: Lykke Geisler, Greenland Tourism

Tel: +45 32 83 38 84

Email: lykke@gt.gl

Website: www.greenland.com

The Greenland Tourist Board promotes the island's C&I offer in the UK in conjunction with the Danish Tourist Board. There are no direct flights to Greenland from the UK but it is just four hours from Copenhagen, and could be considered for a twin-centre trip or as a day trip with a difference.

Incentive activities offered by DMCs such as Arctic Adventure are dogsledding trips with the locals, sailing among the icebergs or whale-watching in the summer. Winter activities include snowmobiling or visits to the Hotel Igloo Village.

Suitable hotels include the Hotel Arctic Ilulissat, the 114-room Hotel Hans Egede or the four-star Hotel Sisimiut.

GUATEMALA

Contact: Instituto Nacional de Turismo (INGUAT)

Tel: N/A

Email: info@inguat.gob.gt

Website: www.inguat.gob.gt

Central America is still largely unexplored by UK incentive groups, but many agencies are hoping to remedy this over the next five years. The Grass Roots Group's Taylor expects it to be a few years before the infrastructure and hotels in Central America's westernmost country, Guatemala, can support C&I groups but says it could be suitable for smaller groups looking for adventure.

DMCs such as Clark Tours have been very proactive in targeting UK buyers. It recommends groups include a tour of Guatemala City and a trip to the Mayan pyramid in Tikal National Park. It also lists whitewater rafting along the Coyolate River and a visit to the archaeological site of Copan in neighbouring Honduras as programme highlights.

KERALA, INDIA

Contact: Kerala Tourism

Tel: +91 47 12 32 11 31

Email: deptour@vsnl.com

Website: www.keralatourism.org

Rodber Thorneycroft director Ben Rodber thinks Kerala could be suitable for an incentive group who are looking to discover the real India. "Kerala is untainted," he says. "Groups can be immersed in the experience and, if they are prepared to get involved and get their fingers dirty, they can live, breathe and eat the destination."

He adds that India is currently marketing itself well and that organisers have the advantage of being able to book with Emirates, which flies to the south of India. Other airlines serving the region include Air India, Gulf Air and Sri Lankan Airways.

Value for money is also one of the top selling points, with day delegate rates in the region of £25. The Taj Hotels group has properties in the region and Le Meridien has a hotel in Cochin. DMCs include SITA World Travels, Travel Corporation of India and Concord Tours and Travels.

NOVA SCOTIA

Contact: Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture

Tel: +1 902 425 5781

Email: explore@gov.ns.ca

Website: www.novascotia.com/www.destinationhalifax.com

Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada, is two hours closer to Europe than any other mainland North American destination. A variety of meeting facilities are available in the capital Halifax, including the World Trade and Convention Center that can accommodate up to 10,000 delegates.

Managing director of Oxford International John Walker says Nova Scotia is definitely worth considering for a conference with UK and North American delegates. "What may be lacking in access - although it is just a five-hour flight from Gatwick - and big name hotels is easily made for by the great value, fabulous food and what can be described as absolutely breathtaking scenery," he says.

For the adventurous, activities throughout the province include kayaking, whale watching and tidal-bore rafting. The province also serves as home to a number of world-class golf courses such as The Highland Links course on Breton Island.

SHANGHAI, CHINA

Contact: China National Tourist Office

Tel: 020 7373 0888

Email: London@cnta.gov.cn

Website: www.cnta.gov.cn

DMC Pacific World is currently receiving more requests for information about China than any other destination in the Far East. It will be running a second fam trip for UK buyers, in conjunction with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Air China, next month.

Groups can visit the classical 16th-century Yu Yuan Chinese Garden, the silk factory or the Grand Theatre. The city is also home to six large-scale conference and exhibition centres, such as the Shanghai New Expo Centre.

The coastal resort of Sanya on Hainan Island, just two hours by air from Shanghai, provides a good contrast to the city. It is often referred to as the Chinese Riviera and likened to Hawaii because of its fantastic climate and white sandy beaches. The Sheraton Sanya hotel is located in Yalong Bay and has 17 meeting rooms and a spa.

ZANZIBAR

Contact: Tanzania Tourist Board

Tel: N/A

Email: ttb-info@habari.co.tz

Website: www.tanzania-web.com

Capital World Travel director Chris McQue is putting together a programme for a trip to Kenya and Zanzibar. "If the political situation remains stable, it will be a knockout," he says. "We've done a fair bit of business in Africa over the past few years, but Zanzibar is an untapped destination with excitement that can be linked to motivational programmes." Zanzibar can be twinned with a safari destination in Kenya or Tanzania, and is easily reached with flights from Mombasa or Nairobi.

Ethos Marketing is the UK representative for The Serena Inn hotel in Stone Town. Director Liz Wright believes Zanzibar is best suited to small groups of up to 60. "It's been doing well in the tourism stakes so it's definitely geared up for the C&I market."

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