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.

The Bangkok Manifesto, created at the SITE Global Conference in Bankok, Thailand in January, comprises 10 statements developed by incentive industry thought leaders on the industry’s true purpose in the business world today.

The Manifesto has been published in hard copy with the addition of written commentary on each of the 10 statements from industry experts in several disciplines–DMC and DMO sectors, hospitality sector, third party planners and corporate end-users. Each week we will take a deep dive into each one, thanks to our industry experts: This week we look at number eight on inclusivity with commentary from Tony Lorenz, CEO, PRA.

The secret is out.

Interest in second and third-tier destinations, relative to first-tier destinations, was up a remarkable 91% in 2018.


Larger destinations can be unreachable in availability and price point. Smaller consumer-centric destinations deliver authentic, and unrivaled content, places, and one-of-a-kind experiences at an attractive price point.

With the clear trend of a business and leisure travel mashup well underway, niche destinations readily stand apart in their value proposition to incentive program stakeholders.

  • Music in Nashville
  • Majestic mountains falling into Lake Tahoe
  • Beautiful beaches and chill vibes in Tulum
  • Sounds, smells, and the labyrinth of alleyways in Marrakech
  • Equestrian and bourbon artistry in Louisville

Smaller destinations just may work a bit harder than their big destination cousins. Relentless focus on each clients’ experience is designed from business and messaging objectives forward, leveraging the heart of a small destination’s personality to deliver on its promise.

A few attributes worth noting:

  • Individual and valuable attention: Secondary markets offer unique experiences at valuable price points. What secondary cities lack in size, they make up for in safe environments and local charm.
  • A sense of place: Participants yearn for new and unique bucket list experiences, many times available only in smaller destinations.
  • Disconnect: Well-being, not just wellness, are within reach in smaller destinations. It may be easier to get off the grid of our daily grind in a smaller destination.
  • Follow the money: Development in niche destinations is outstripping big city development with many significant brands making outsized investments in these destinations, growing capacity and interest in this sector. 

While the overall population is accelerating primarily in only six hundred of the largest cities around the world, the growth of smaller destinations for incentive programs make sense given macro trends in society at large.  Think small. It may look good on you.