Social responsibility and relationships must be central to incentive travel planning, according to a document crafted at SITE’s Global Conference in Bangkok in January.

The Bangkok Manifesto started as a series of workshops with SITE’s international board of directors, trustees of the SITE Foundation and a cohort of global experts in the field of incentive travel, facilitated by Martin Sirk, former executive director of ICCA. The final 10 statements of The Bangkok Manifesto were then crowdsourced with the full conference assembly using Slido, the online, audience engagement platform.

SITE CEO Didier Scaillet called the resulting list a core reference point for incentive travel professionals. “SITE’s voice needs to reach out beyond our membership and our industry, and into the business world and society itself, positioning incentive travel as an extraordinarily effective tool for improving business performance and travel as a transformative agent for positive change in communities and society at large,” he said.

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Ciara Gallagher, manager of Meet in Ireland, which sponsored the report, cited incentive travel’s role as the fastest-growing sector of MICE, with highest-per-person spend and widest reach across the destination supply chain, as the reason the principles needed to be captured in a shared document. “Incentive travel delivers significant economic benefit for destinations like Ireland, along with the wonderful boomerang effect. Satisfied clients tend to return again and again and generate great ‘word of mouth’ for the destination” she said.

A print collateral piece, complete with commentary from incentive industry thought leaders, will be launched at IMEX Frankfurt in May 2019. The Vancouver Manifesto will be crafted at SITE’s annual conference in January 2020.

The Bangkok Manifesto

Following are the basic principles of a healthy incentive industry, according to attendees of SITE Global Conference 2019.

  1. Every stakeholder in the incentive travel community should embrace social responsibility as a core part of their business philosophy and recognize that our business practices and policies will define how that responsibility is exercised.
  2. Relationships and teamwork build business results, not isolated individual effort. And nothing creates and strengthens relationships more effectively than shared incentive travel experiences.
  3. Incentive travel contributes significantly to economic growth, partnerships within and between organizations, and innovative thinking by both participants and the organizations that create the programs.
  4. The interests, aspirations and perspectives of incentive program participants should be placed center stage in our industry’s strategic thinking and advocacy work.
  5. The definition of luxury has changed. The era of logos and brands is ending. Luxury, in the future, will be defined by authentic, unique and personal experiences.
  6. Incentive travel helps to create corporate cultures that are fueled by motivation and focused on future success.
  7. Inclusivity should become a critical concept for our industry. We believe that incentive travel changes behavior and builds motivation at all levels of an organization.
  8. Our industry must encourage more second- and third-tier cities and nonurban destinations to embrace incentive travel as part of their business mix, highlighting that success in our business is not dependent on massive infrastructure or investment.
  9. Incentive travel drives human capital excellence and innovation within destinations, with profound benefits for other targeted business segments.
  10. Emerging destinations that include incentive travel in their strategic plans will experience faster economic growth and human capital development than would otherwise be the case.