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A Green Good Time: sustainable incentives in Asia

November 18, 2021

Having slogged through trying times, employees around the world are in need of a major morale boost. It comes as no surprise then that of CWT Meetings & Events’ 53% global increase in demand for the first half of 2022 from 2021, much of it is for incentive events.

Amidst a healthy job market and a need to bring staff together, incentive events will be more important than ever for engaging and rewarding employees.

At the same time, sustainability is a top concern. People want to have a good time but not at the expense of community and planet.

In the first of a series of blogs in which we ask CWT Meetings & Events leaders about sustainable events destinations in their region, we speak to Petrina Goh, Director, CWT Meetings & Events, Singapore.

Are you seeing an increased interest in Asia?

Yes. Travelers are more aware of their social impact after Covid but momentum is a concern. Pent-up demand and the travel & events industry’s slow recovery are expected to reboot pre-pandemic behaviour focused on large-scale consumption, especially in the APAC region where there is a focus on budget travel and meetings.

The main drivers for a renewed focus on eco-tourism in APAC stem from the situation in Bali (water shortage in 2019) and Boracay’s closure in 2018 to rebuild the island which was decimated by heavy tourism. The rise of the Millennial and Gen Z traveler also shows changes in travel behaviour with this demographic of traveler more heavily focused on environmental sustainability and a respect for carbon efficiency.

How have sustainable events been impacted in APAC?

Unfortunately in APAC the pandemic has created a massive hurdle in the drive toward sustainability as the focus on hygiene and safety measures has led to a fair bit of wastage in events (disposable cutlery, plastic bottles etc. to maintain hygiene). Despite this, clients, venues and agencies have continued to stress the importance in finding balance in organizing sustainable events, whilst ensuring safe event practices. Some use re-useable cutlery & bottles that double up as event gifts. There’s a move from print to digital for all event collaterals and hybrid events to reduce long haul travel and carbon emissions.

Can you name a couple of top destinations in your region for sustainable incentives?

Koh Kong, Cambodia

Many tour operators in the area purchase carbon offsets, use regionally-sourced materials, and work closely with neighboring communities to give travelers an authentic experience and boost the local economy.

Bhutan

Although difficult for travellers to obtain a permit to even enter the country, Bhutan has been incredibly successful at preserving its local culture. To help preserve the landlocked country, each visitor must pay a daily tax. Eco-trips to Bhutan often involve exploring Jigme Dorji National Park, viewing snow leopards and musk oxen, and visiting ancient monasteries.

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