DMC World View – An update from South East Asia

In the third of our DMC World View series, we head to South East Asia and hear from Asian Trails chief executive officer Laurent Kuenzle on the latest trends.

In the third of our DMC World View series, we share the news from an international destination on the current state of business event activity in that part of the world.

In this article we head to South East Asia and hear from Asian Trails chief executive officer Laurent Kuenzle on the latest trends.

Laurent Kuenzle.
  • Incentive enquiries are on the rise
  • Groups are avoiding large crowded spaces
  • Group sizes are smaller but budgets remain steady or even higher
  • Many incentive participants are extending their stay
  • Uncertainty remains around when China will reopen

Asian Trails is an experienced and stable company. Most importantly, our 33 offices across nine countries remained open throughout COVID. That’s no mean feat. Our main offices include Thailand – seven offices, four in Vietnam and four in Indonesia.

From paddock to plate in Bali with incentive delegates. Image credit: Asian Trails.

Asia was closed until March and restarted in April and business is now slowly building. Restrictions have been removed for fully vaccinated travellers.

During the first half of 2022 we managed approximately 15 incentive groups and business leads have been steadily rising, with very positive signs coming out of Australia.

We are also seeing a growing level of enquiries from countries including Spain, France, the UK, Israel and India.

For the remainder of the year we have slow growth with strong business in 2023. This is despite nothing coming out of China. There is an assumption that China will reopen sometime in 2023 but honestly, I can’t predict that.

What has changed post-COVID? I believe the business will remain short lead. Groups are smaller however budgets are holding and even a little higher.

Sustainable elements are continuing and is something we see as a vital ingredient in an incentive program. This will only grow further.

Groups avoiding crowded places

There are still concerns around COVID which is why I believe the group sizes will remain smaller and groups will avoid large crowded spaces and gatherings. It should go without saying that it has never been more important to ensure your DMC partner is reputable and has all of the safety, risk assessment and security measures in place for you.

Take a helicopter for a bird’s eye view of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Image credit: Asian Trails.

What I don’t think has changed after the pandemic is the style of event other than they are smaller.

What we are seeing are post-event extensions and you really can’t blame people for that. After such a long time of closed borders people really want to take advantage of being able to travel again. Programs are combining city stays with a nature destination giving the participants a contrasting experience.

At the moment there are really no major festivals or sporting events occurring, most probably because there is still hesitancy around crowded spaces and large gatherings. Hopefully this will change soon.

Asian Trails is represented in Australia by Tourism Portfolio.

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