Stretching your rands
2 Nov 2018 - by Chana Boucher
With most companies keeping a close eye on budgets, destinations that are more affordable for South Africans are becoming strong incentive options.
Samuel Herman, team leader of FCM Events says there’s been a trend toward all-inclusive options, making Mauritius and Zanzibar popular choices. “Cruising is also a good choice as it not only has the all-inclusive element, but also offers delegates the opportunity to visit multiple destinations on one trip.”
According to md of The Travel Corporation, Teresa Richardson, a good incentive will have many interesting and unique experiences in the mix. “Turkey, Portugal, London and Greece are all great on-trend destinations that have always managed to cater for large groups by being able to offer great service and support.” She says the eastern Mediterranean has always been incredibly popular, with countries such as Greece and Turkey offering the right amount of culture, sightseeing and history to satisfy travellers. “They are also rand-friendly destinations, making the incentive winner’s spending money go further,” says Teresa, adding that Eastern Europe is also “packed to the rafters with culture, history and hidden gems”.
Mandy McEvoy, travel manager at Club Travel, says incentives are generally four nights, making closer destinations such as Mauritius, Mozambique, Zanzibar and Madagascar favourable.
Carla da Silva, Air Mauritius regional general manager: Africa & Latin America, says Mauritius remains a top incentive travel destination for South Africans, thanks to the short flight, no visa requirement, world-class infrastructure and conferencing facilities, all-inclusive value propositions with different packages; entertainment and tailormade excursions, and more. She adds that there have also been MICE enquiries for India, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Enid Maullin, group sales executive of Beachcomber agrees: “Most companies today look for the best value for money – their requests are all-inclusive, a good resort offering added values and a fun programme, and not long-haul flights. Mauritius offers all of this and more.” She adds that some companies do look at other destination they consider to be new to them, for a different experience, but that this depends on budgets.
Zanzibar is experiencing a boom in incentive travel. Says Steve Cook, sales and marketing manager for Africa Stay: “It is a very cost-effective destination and ideal for teambuilding. The all-inclusive packages are ideal as companies have an exact budget. With meals and drinks included, they don’t have to worry about additional costs when they check out of the resort.” He says another drawcard is that most of the four- and five-star properties offer conferencing facilities.
According to Martine Sanderson, group sales manager of World Leisure Holidays, more adventure is a hot trend. “Réunion Island is definitely a talking point for 2019 and 2020 for MICE groups. It offers a whole array of adventures for teambuilding and relaxing and taking in the magnificent sights of the island. The nightlife is amazing as well, with a meal only costing €6.” Other countries she says are getting a lot of attention are India, because it’s not a traditional destination, and Egypt, because the political unrest is no longer a concern and the destination offers a myriad things to do that are affordable for South Africans.
David Sand, ceo of Uwin Iwin Incentives, says even though he and his team like to promote destinations in Africa, they have found that only a few are really affordable for clients. “Destinations such as Swakopmund, Victoria Falls and Zanzibar offer the best value. If you travel further off our shores you find a lot of value in Mauritius, Thailand, Bali and to the west, destinations such as Rio and Cancun. Europe will always come with a premium price tag, however the amount of added value you receive on those trips does make it worthwhile.”