As Asia is the fastest-growing region of incentive travel, Bangkok was the perfect locale for the conference themed, “Incentivizing Diversity and Innovation,” highlighting how business innovation and success stem from a wholehearted embrace of diversity.
CHICAGO, IL, USA -- The SITE 2019 Global Conference, held from January 11-14 at the world-renowned Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok, hosted a record 375 incentive travel professionals from 30 different countries.
As Asia is the fastest-growing region of incentive travel, Bangkok was the perfect locale for the conference themed, “Incentivizing Diversity and Innovation,” highlighting how business innovation and success stem from a wholehearted embrace of diversity, and how the daily challenges that we face in our lives – both private and professional – are the furnace in which our enduring success is forged. Bangkok was also the ideal spot to inaugurate the newest chapter—SITE Thailand, which brings the number of SITE chapters around the world to 30.
Highpoints of the conference included the Crystal Awards ceremony, educational sessions with prominent speakers, certification opportunities, cultural events showcasing the beauty and uniqueness of Bangkok and exciting evening events where new and old friendships were rekindled.
Attendees came from all walks of the incentive travel spectrum: SITE members and non-members, media, corporate buyers, incentive houses, independent planners, destination marketing organizations, tourist boards, airlines, cruise companies, hotels, convention centres, DMCs, transportation companies, venues, speakers, trainers and educators.
Groundbreaking educational sessions were designed to inspire creativity and innovation with key topics including, “Embrace the Shake -- How Excepting Your Limitations Can Unlock Unlimited Creativity”; “Blockchain in Travel: How Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Could Change the Face of Travel”; How to Build Creativity Into Your Business Processes” and “How a Balanced Scorecard Approach Can Prove the Business Case for Incentive Travel."
Other learning sessions outside the meeting room included cultural immersions organized at creative spaces including Soy Sauce Factory and Thailand Creativity and Design Center.
Certification opportunities included the Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS), an entry-level certification program, and Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP) -- a career-defining designation for mid-senior level professionals working across the niche spectrum of incentive travel.
During the conference, with the generous support of Meet in Ireland, SITE staged a series of workshops to create the “Bangkok Manifesto,” 10 high-level statements to capture the nature, purpose and direction of incentive travel.
The Manifesto will be a key theme throughout the 11 months that follow, providing a platform for ongoing discussion, education and advocacy.
Pre-and post tours brought delegates to learn and experience local lifestyle as well as Bangkok’s new developments. Delegates got the chance to observe Yodpiman market, Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School, upscale accommodations and venues along the Chao Phraya River.
SITE President Philip Eidsvold, CIS, CITP said: "We promised delegates Bangkok would bedazzle and beguile. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and a veritable village of destination partners and suppliers, Bangkok will be front and centre in the minds of incentive travel professionals for years to come."
CEO of SITE, Didier Scaillet, CIS, CITP added: "With our global membership at 2,480, an all-time high for the association, SITE Global Conference, Bangkok continued to tear up the record book delivering our biggest ever Asia conference with new highs in terms of CSR activities, sustainability, audience engagement, social media reach and overall delegate satisfaction."
The final night of the global conference was held poolside at the upscale host hotel Shangri-La with delegates encouraged to explore the local restaurants of Bangkok later in the evening.
Next year’s SITE Global Conference will be held in Vancouver, Canada.