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British Incentive Sector Holding Ground: UK Planners

By Jill Innamorati-Varley

The incentive business continues to be strong in the UK despite the global economic downturn, according to incentive and meeting planners who visited Australia last week on a tour sponsored by Business Events Australia (BEA).

“It may be early days, but so far we haven’t had any cancellations or experienced any downturn in our incentive business,” said CWT Meetings & Events operations manager, John Hogben.

While agreeing the incentive market is currently stabile, Emu Events’ Mike Utton revealed that a South African incentive his Leicester-based event management company is organising had been temporarily downsized from 200 to 150 participants.

“A week later the company reconsidered and said the original number was to stay. Their reasoning was that rather than demotivate their employees, it was more productive to lift the mood of gloom and doom for the benefit of everyone concerned,” he said.

BEA head, Joyce De Mascio, said the tour that was co-hosted by the Perth Convention Bureau, the Northern Territory Convention Bureau and airline partner Emirates, would help put Australia in the front of mind of UK planners.

“Up until now, Tourism Australia’s take on the business tourism market had a leisure optic,” she said.

“We were trying to compete in a cluttered marketplace and needed to find what distinguished us, to imbed the Business Events brand and, in turn, bring the rest of the industry with us.”
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