In the two and a half months since joining the Destination Asia team, Rebecca Easterman (Director of Sales, AUS & NZ MICE) has been busy meeting clients not just in Australia, but more recently in Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. A busy bee indeed, we managed to grab five minutes with Rebecca when she was in Bangkok to ask a few questions about MICE in Asia.
With most destinations in Asia fully open again, which countries are you seeing the most demand for?
Currently, Singapore and Vietnam are in high demand. Singapore is a great option for groups looking to resume offshore travel. With Emirates reinstating flights from AKL to KUL, I expect to see more interest in Malaysia in the coming months as well which is great news.
What trends are you excited to see taking shape in M&I travel in Asia?
Clients are a lot more interested in authenticity and experiences that can’t be accessed by a tourist. I’ve seen first-hand some of the incredible work being done with local communities in the countries where Destination Asia operates. These not only offer an authentic encounter that wouldn’t be possible without a DMC, but also directly impact the community in a positive way. I am also seeing that in this new era of travel, there is more of a genuine focus on sustainability. Not just from the environmental standpoint but taking into account the financial and social impact travel has on a destination.
Which locations in Asia do you see as trending MICE destinations and why?
Asia is perfectly positioned for Meetings and Incentives due to its proximity to Australia/New Zealand and its unique cultural offering. A medium haul one-sector flight can see you enjoying the urban oasis of a rooftop bar in Bangkok, a dinner in a local working village in Vietnam or the celebrated temples of Cambodia. Asia is exotic but also a convenient offering for event planners looking to get back to delivering their programs offshore. Each destination within the Destination Asia portfolio is unique and has its own beauty and personality to share. Our teams in these destinations can’t wait to welcome groups back.
Do you think hybrid events are here to stay?
Yes and No. Ha! I think that there will be meetings that will continue to be delivered in a digital format but of course, we all know that face-to-face events are incredibly important to fostering positive relationships, brand loyalty and motivation. While I’m still enjoying some destination webinars to keep my knowledge up to date, my recent experience as part of a FAM group in Thailand was that a shared experience with like-minded individuals could be incredibly fulfilling.
If you could travel now to any location in Asia, where would it be and why?
I can’t wait to experience Vietnam. It’s been on my wish list for a long time, and I’m really excited to meet its people and immerse myself in its culture and landscape. My excitement may or may not have a lot to do with my love affair with Vietnamese food! I can almost taste that first Bahn Mi! I’ll have to make sure there is a cycling tour in my program!
For more details about Asia and how to book, contact Rebecca at: [email protected]