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Mice Asia Net : July 2009
editor’s letter Editor’s letter Change for the better In a frank and thought-provoking interview this edition (page 14) CEO of Destination Asia, James Reed, is predicting that the lavish incentive travel market of yesterday is gone forever in the wake of the global financial crisis. Mr Reed, a destination management specialist, says the days of things like helicopter transfers, over-the-top fireworks displays, and private viewings of museums and other extravagances are gone for good. He calls it “the AIG effect” after AIG in the United States was publicly criticised in late 2008 for having its high achievers participating in a top-end incentive at exactly the same time the U.S. Government was committing hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the company afloat. The new direction incentives are taking are placing greater emphasis on including activities that are socially responsible, particularly to the region and the people the event is being held in. This could be in donating money to a local school, helping rebuild a temple, or simply ensuring that local products are utilised throughout the event. This is not a fad and it is happening right now. And Mr Reed has the business and the requests for proposal to prove it, particularly from the European, U.S. and Australian markets. Whether this will be a trend that Asian companies join at this stage remains to be seen, although it has to be said that if they are affiliates of western companies then they most certainly will. And it should be remembered that the trend appears at the present time to be particularly embraced by publicly listed companies. Private companies – those spending their own money and not that of their shareholders – can really do whatever it is they like, and may still do so. What this new trend means to destination marketers and hoteliers really is a new way of thinking and promotion of their products and services. Companies, according to Mr Reed, want to know what destinations, resorts and hotels are doing in their own backyard to help the local community and the local environment, or what options there are for their delegates to help make a difference during their stay. This is not a trend that is going to go away. Corporate social responsibility as many people now call it, is here to stay, and everybody should get on board if they wish to survive and prosper in this brave new world. We welcome your feedback, MANAGING EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org 4 miceAsia.net