ITMA report sees trend for short-haul growing

Short-haul destinations made up 63% of UK-organised incentives over the past financial year, according to a recent ITMA survey. The survey found that of the European events, 22% took place in the UK, with Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and the south of France all ranked as favourite destinations in continental Europe. Long-haul incentives accounted for 21% of all programmes with Cape Town topping the league, followed by New York. Peru, Chile and Brazil were cited as top emerging destinations. Other findings revealed the average lead-time is seven months, with 88% expecting this time frame to stay the same or reduce still further in future. ITMA executive director Charles Robinson said: “Ever-reducing lead times means it makes more sense to use tried and tested destinations.” Relationship Travel Solutions by Carlson sales director Gordon Owen agreed incentives do not need to take place overseas. “It depends on the creativity, but domestic incentives can work really well. For instance, if you don’t have to pay for air fares, then you can afford a five-star hotel in the UK rather than a four-star somewhere abroad.” McGarvey Russell MD Sally McGarvey said the agency had also seen a trend towards more UK incentives, due in part to the current economic climate – all the more so with low-budget, short-duration programmes. However, she added: “If the budget is available, then taking a group away for a few days of winter sunshine is hard to beat.” The survey also found the average size of incentive events is between 55 and 99 participants, and that 84% of agencies polled believed this group size would not increase over the next two years. The survey, sponsored by Hilton International, was sent to 90 UK C&I agencies, 43 of which were ITMA members.

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