Surekha Ragavan
Jan 14, 2019

SITE announces ‘Bangkok Manifesto’ at global conference

The statements in the manifesto acknowledge the changes and significance of incentive travel.

SITE president Peter Eidsvold (second from left) speaking at the conference held in Bangkok.
SITE president Peter Eidsvold (second from left) speaking at the conference held in Bangkok.

The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) has released a manifesto of statements to set out their vision as well as their “nature, purpose and direction”. Launched at the SITE Global Conference in Bangkok on 13 January, the manifesto looks ahead to 2023, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the association, and will celebrate its progress through the years.

A total of 15 statements were presented to SITE members and conference attendees on 12 January. The following day, the manifesto was whittled down to 10 entries with help from conference attendees who participated in a live voting session.

The statements are:

  1. The interests, aspirations and perspectives of incentive programme participants should be placed centre stage in our industry’s strategic thinking and advocacy work.
  2. Inclusivity should become a critical concept for our industry—we believe that incentive travel changes behaviour and builds motivation at all levels of an organisation.
  3. Relationships and teamwork build business results, not isolated individual effort. And nothing creates and strengthens relationships more effectively than shared incentive travel experiences.
  4. Incentive travel helps to create corporate cultures that are fuelled by motivation and focused on future success.
  5. Incentive travel drives human capital excellence and innovation within destinations, with profound benefits for other targeted business segments.
  6. Our industry must encourage more second and third-tier cities and non-urban 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.
  7. The definition of luxury has changed. The era of logos and brands is ending. Luxury in future will be defined by authentic, unique and personal experiences.
  8. Every stakeholder in the incentive travel community should embrace social responsibility as a core part of their business philosophy, and recognise that our business practices and policies will define how that responsibility is exercised.
  9. 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.
  10. Incentive travel contributes significantly to economic growth, partnerships within and between organisations, and innovative thinking by both participants and the organisations that create the programmes.

According to Padraic Gilligan, CMO of SITE, the statements are a reflection of the way travel and destinations are changing with the evolving nature of mass tourism. “We want to be behind the scenes—in fact, we don’t want to be called tourists anymore. That’s regarded as an insult, in a way,” he said.

“It’s not about hotspots or hidden gems, it’s about the whole place. A place is a lot greater than the sum of its major monuments. Today, livability and localism are the real attractions for visitors.”

Separately, it was also revealed that SITE’s global conference in 2020 will be held in Vancouver.


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