Beyond budget constraints, attendee engagement and the ever-expanding list of dietary requirements, the biggest challenge for event planners (particularly in Asia) is accessibility. The visa application process can long, arduous and very costly—and is a make or break factor when it comes to destination choice.
Here, we profile some of the friendliest places to hold events in Asia, and where to stay when you get there:
Among Indonesia’s many magnificent islands, Bali is the incontestable favourite for international incentives. Visa-free entry was extended to an additional 79 countries in 2016, making Indonesia one of the friendliest places to visit in APAC—now nationals from 169 countries can enter visa-free.
For corporates looking to stay fit and soak up the island sun, W Bali - Seminyak offers a range of team-building activities on the beach—think beach volley, dodgeball, and mini soccer.
After a day on the beach, relax with cocktails or a private team dinner on the Woobar rooftop, complete with a beach backdrop and party vibes from the beach club below.
The luxury resort oozes cool, with an eclectic mix of colour, light and quirky design touches that are weaved through guest rooms and event spaces.
For a more tranquil retreat, The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali boasts direct access to Nusa Dua beach, and is home to several azure lagoons and a beautifully landscaped Balinese temple garden. As well as beach activities, the resort can organise cooking classes, BBQ brunches and traditional Balinese blessings for visiting groups.
A short walk from the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Centre, the white sand Laguna Beachfront can also host events for up to 70 guests.
The island nation has visa exemption arrangements with 66 countries, including Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand.
An increase in air services ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also means better connections and cheaper airfares. And the elusive Japanese culture continues to attract the attention of meeting and event planners.
Cultural experiences like tea ceremonies and Japanese dance lessons can be arranged for corporate groups at The Westin Tokyo, which is located in the upscale Yebisu district. The hotel is a great base for business in Japan’s sprawling capital, and its teppanyaki bar has some of the best wagyu steaks in town. The Westin Garden can also be used to host intimate cocktail events in autumn or spring.
Beyond Tokyo, Osaka is the gateway to West Japan and a hub for international exchange. The city’s central artery, Midosuji Boulevard, is known as the Champs Elysées of Osaka and home to some of the biggest luxury brands including The St. Regis Osaka.
The hotel’s finely tuned butler service, which includes packing and unpacking services, shoe shining and coffee or tea on demand, will ensure incentive delegates feel extra special.
Known for its gastronomic flare and unique blend of Malay, Chinese, and India culture, Malaysia is a commercial hub of Southeast Asia.
Delegates from 63 countries can enter Malaysia visa-free for 90 days. Last year the Malaysian government also enabled e-visa applications from China, which include a visa-free option. The user-friendly e-visa platform was recently extended to other countries including India.
Treat delegates to a weekend dim sum brunch at the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur’s Cantonese restaurant, Celestial Court, or impress with an al fresco Mediterranean Seafood Galore buffet by the pool, with views across Villa Daniela, which is styled like a traditional Italian trattoria.
Meanwhile, The Westin Kuala Lumpur, provides a sanctuary of wellness with a number of activities that focus on delegate wellbeing. These include a morning Zumba class by the Pool, a group running concierge, interactive cooking challenges, and a relaxation workshop that helps busy corporates unwind.
If you’re looking for a place to bring your event to life, visit SPG Hotels to discover a wide range of venues.
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Main image: W Bali - Seminyak