At our annual conference this year in Bangkok we created The Bangkok Manifesto. It’s our 10 statements on the nature, purpose and direction of Incentive Travel for the 2019 year. Recently – at IMEX Frankfurt – we launched our “deluxe” print edition, complete with commentary from 10 global experts in incentive travel.

I say “we” advisedly. This was NOT the work of a small elite group. It was a genuine crowd-sourced initiative that involved a wide spectrum of SITE and non SITE members all focused on identifying a road map for incentive travel based on our aspirations and the realities of the unfolding market. Here’s how it came about.

There was a change of the guard at SITE in 2018 with a new executive leadership team taking the reins. The transition event was our Global Conference in Rome in January 2018 where the new team was struck by the star quality of the attendees – legends of the incentive travel industry, from all over the world, experience and expertise in abundance. We wondered how we could tap into that knowledge, channel it for the benefit of the entire industry, turn it into a vision document, a big statement … a manifesto.

We engaged Martin Sirk of Serendipity Consulting (former Executive Director of ICCA) as consultant / moderator and designed a methodology with Martin aimed at “crowdsourcing” the Manifesto with key SITE audiences. In advance of a series of face to face workshops we distributed a briefing document defining the term Manifesto, giving examples of good ones and sharing a wide range of stimulating reading material to tease the thought buds.

The first workshop with SITE’s International Board of Directors, SITE Foundation’s Board of Trustees and the title sponsors of the initiative, Meet in Ireland worked for 2 hours together and produced 50 statements about the nature purpose and direction of incentive travel. Using a simple voting system, they were then reduced to 30 statements and became the focus for another workshop, this time an invited group of 50 individuals including non-members of SITE.

This group added to and subtracted from the 30 statements but was mandated to select the 15 most important, representative statements. These were then presented to the entire assembly during the closing session of the Global Conference. Using, the brilliant Slovak-born audience engagement platform, the 10 statements that you’ll find in this publication were then selected electronically and voted upon formally by the assembly. An overwhelming majority was in favour of adopting the 10 statements believing them to represent the nature, purpose and direction of incentive travel for 2019.

The 10 statements are being presented with high level commentaries from an amazing group of professionals for whom incentive travel plays a key role in their businesses. You’ll find a perfect gender balance here with views from the entire incentive spectrum – DMC and DMO sectors, hospitality sector, third party planners and corporate end-users. Thanks to the detective work and forensic skills of Lauren Pascu of Conference Planners International you’ll also find references to industry and non-industry periodicals and publications that have been concerned with similar topics and themes.

If you weren’t at IMEX or didn’t manage to get a copy (they disappeared very quickly) you can get an e-copy immediately by providing your email address here.

If, however, you want the beautiful tangibility of the printed edition then e mail our Chief Marketing Officer, Pádraic Gilligan ( and he’ll send you one (along with details of how to become a member of SITE!)

TEXT of the Bangkok Manifesto

  1. 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.
  2. Relationships and teamwork build business results, not isolated individual effort.  And nothing creates and strengthens relationships more effectively than shared incentive travel experiences.
  3. 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.
  4. The interests, aspirations and perspectives of incentive programme participants should be placed centre stage in our industry’s strategic thinking and advocacy work.
  5. 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.
  6. Incentive travel helps to create corporate cultures that are fuelled by motivation and focused on future success.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Incentive travel drives human capital excellence and innovation within destinations, with profound benefits for other targeted business segments.
  10. 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.

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