by Meetings & Conventions Asia | October 30, 2018
The quaint streets of Bodrum, Turkey. (Photo Credit: Delpixart/Getty Images)
Demand for new destinations and unique experiences for MICE is growing significantly, fuelled by trends in leisure travel for "off-the-beaten-path" destinations. 

Arrivals to emerging destinations are projected to increase by 4.4% each year between 2010 and 2030, according to the World Tourism Organization, twice the growth rate of those in advanced economies. 

Destination management company Pacific World highlights the five emerging destinations and four destinations planners should keep a look out. 

Bhutan

Often regarded as one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world, Bhutan is a niche destination committed to sustainable and equitable socio-economic developments and to the preservation and promotion of the country's incredible heritage. 

The South Asian jewel in the heart of the Great Himalayas was recently awarded the Earth Award in March, which recognises destinations working toward responsible and sustainable tourism development. 

Besides the stunning natural scenery, the strong sense of culture and tradition clearly distinguishes it from its larger neighbours.

Namibia

Nominated numerous times for its rich and diverse offerings, Namibia's vast landscape includes natural sites from natural hot springs to awe-inspiring wildlife scenes, petrified forests, dunes, rock formations and ancient rock engravings.

Hotels and lodges in Namibia are meeting international standards and its capital, Windhoek, offers top quality accommodation and venues for meetings, incentives, conferences and events.

Greater Bay Area - South China

The Greater Bay or Pearl River Delta Metropolitan Region (PRD) is one of the most densely urbanised regions in the world. Spread along the Southern coast of China, the region comprises Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen is experiencing incomparable growth.

"Investment in tourism megaprojects will see the construction of new hotels, entertainment hubs, shopping arcades and theme parks, offering wonderful opportunities for multi-destinations meetings or incentive programs," said Pacific World's business development manager, Dwirt Ang.

Bordeaux, France

The city of Bordeaux, one of the world's most renowned wine centres in the Atlantic Coast in the southwestern France is home to some of the world's greatest vineyards.

"The city was completely transformed over an intense 15-year refurbishment plan that has revealed its rich personality," said Laure Le Pendeven, senior account manager, Pacific World France. "Recent developments and the gastronomy/oenology are great incentives to visit Bordeaux. We have seen an increase in the interest for the destination, which is just two hours from Paris."

The city has become a true magnet in the French meetings and incentives market. 

Attractions include the Renaissance city centre with 350 Listed Historic Sites, historic vineyards speckled with chateaux, the nearby oceanfront, high-tech meeting facilities, five-star accommodation choices, grape-themed spas, and world-famous gastronomic appeal. 

The Atlantic Southwest region has its own special relaxed ambience and discreet luxury where clients can discover a new aspect of France for those already familiar with Paris and the French Riviera.

Bodrum, Turkey

On the verge of global stardom, Bodrum is a truly motivational and incentive-quality destination. The destination has been transformed with the recent construction of multiple high-end hotels with more to come, and has developed into a jet set favourite with the completion of the Bodrum International Airport Terminal.

Founded as a Dorian City in the 7th century BC, Bodrum is intensely rich in antiquity and home to one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. 

An enigmatic seaside town, Bodrum's glittering marina, boutique hotels, cool cafés, and white-plastered backstreets make it an ideal destination for incentive rewards.

Here are the four destinations to watch that is expected to grow strongly:

Sumba, Indonesia

Sumba is the right place if you want to experience indigenous culture and traditions, hike through hilltop villages with thatched traditional clan houses and unique megalithic tombs or relax in a resort on one of its pristine beaches, says Sumadi, the head of MICE Pacific World Indonesia. 

"At the moment, Sumba is considered one of last unspoiled paradises on earth, but there are predictions that Sumba will undergo massive infrastructure developments in order to attract investments and MICE business."

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

The largest island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc, is becoming increasingly popular with the introduction of more domestic connections from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and international flights from Guangzhou and Bangkok. With basic infrastructure in place, Phu Quoc is quickly transforming into an emerging resort island destination.

Apulia, Italy

Apulia is an increasingly popular travel destination throughout the year due to its mild weather, ecotourism adventures in natural parks and a cuisine that is renowned worldwide. Thanks to the large selection of luxury hotels and meeting facilities, Apulia is a perfect destination for small incentives to large meetings and congresses. The region is known for stunning architectural and historical heritage.
 
Gangneung, South Korea

Gangneung is gaining fame not only for its exposure during the Olympics, but for its beautiful natural environment. Ideally located within two- to three hours from Central Seoul, Gangeung is home to beautiful beaches and mountains, such as Seoraksan and Odaesan. The city offers unusual and unconventional venues for events, such as the traditional Korea House venue or Tera Rosa Coffee Factory in the Gangneung Ojuk Hanok Village.