Global companies are increasingly eyeing Qatar as destination for incentive travel, an important subset of the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) industry, especially in the light of 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to a top official of Gulf Adventures, a pioneer in the field of incentive travel in the country.
Russia emerges key market for Doha; while talks are on with prospective clients in Europe in general and Germany and Switzerland in particular, as well as with those in Brazil, said Emad Abu-Jalala, chief executive of Gulf Adventures, a destination management company.
"We are now working on many programmes for the incentive, which is a part of the MICE. I believe in the next five years, the business is mainly for incentives," he told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the Qatar Travel Mart, which will conclude Thursday.
Many established organisations use incentive travel as an effective management strategy and the vacation lasts from three to seven days and blends team-building activities, professional networking opportunities and free personal time to explore the destination.
Acknowledging that the incentive travel was a rare phenomenon when it entered into the segment 20 years ago; he said of late, there has been more demand in the incentive business.
"The great positive point of the 2022 World Cup is that it has made Qatar well known all over the world and many companies that were not inclined before has now started making enquiries as they want to visit the small Arab country that will hold such an august sporting event," he said.
The higher the demand for incentive business, the better the economy in shape, Abu-Jalala said, adding recently, it started receiving a lot of requests, especially from Russia, which is really a big market and their economy is getting much better after the Covid-19.
Apart from Russia, the demand has been pouring in from Europe in general and Germany and Switzerland in particular.
"We are also focusing on Brazil. We (will) have a very good incentive group (of around 280 people) from Brazil by February.
According to the 2019 Incentive Travel Industry Index, as much as 84% of the US businesses offer non-cash incentives to retain and engage employees. One report estimates that 40% of the US firms use travel rewards to recognise employees for their contributions.
Asked about the economic prospects of the business segment, he said the profit from one incentive group is better than that from 30 or 40 leisure groups.
Asked about their strategy to tap more markets; he said Gulf Adventures, which is a B2B entity, appoints tour operators in various countries, as it considers reputation and right representation are key ingredients for its sustainable business model.