The business is as it was - people are motivated by travel

Looking back over 30 years in this business, it is easy to assume that there must have been massive changes.

Obviously, there have been developments, but the most important was the changing face of leisure travel.

In the mid-1970s, most people travelled no further than Majorca or Torremolinos for their holidays. Today, significant numbers travel abroad several times a year with Thailand and the Caribbean almost as commonplace as Spain was. Even hens and stags migrate as far as Budapest for their weekends.

These changing attitudes to leisure travel led incentive travel houses to offer new destinations and experiences in order to exceed participants' expectations. This used to be fairly simple. An oil company might take its dealers to the Monaco Grand Prix or a car manufacturer might go to Marbella for the weekend but, before long, participants were looking for exotic long-haul destinations.

As the market grew, airlines, hotels and destinations all recognised the business potential of incentive travel and began to focus on it as a sales opportunity. The growth also attracted more specialist suppliers and now we have a mature industry employing people who are dedicated to C&I travel.

So there have been changes. Even so, this industry is still fundamentally the same as it was 30 years ago. It is based on the simple but undeniable fact that travel motivates. The challenge remains to produce events that stay ahead of expectations - although it would, of course, be rewarding to do so in a climate in which clients find it acceptable that event management companies should make a profit.

I look forward to following the expanding horizon and creative solutions produced by the next generation.

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