- Özgür Töre
Following highly successful events in Dublin (2017) and Rwanda (2018), the SITE Executive Summit took place in Turkey from 14 – 17 November drawing 120 incentive travel professionals to Istanbul to re-ignite the flame of incentive travel.
Launched in 2008 as a response to requests from destination marketing organizations (DMOs), convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs) and destination-based influencers for education and best practice exchange specifically around incentive travel, SITE Executive Summit has grown into an important annual event pivoting around learning and destination immersion during which members of the international board of directors and trustees of the SITE Foundation gather at the selected destination for three to four days.
During a densely packed day of education, over 100 Istanbul-based incentive travel professionals including representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism and Turkish Airlines, joined the SITE global leadership at Kethuda, a former Hammam, to explore key themes and trends for the business events industry in Turkey. Presentations included case studies on destinations that have recovered from challenging times, recent global research into the incentive travel industry and panel discussions on destination marketing and selection and on business communication in the global environment. Delegates also rotated around eight discussion topics led by global SITE leadership.
“The recovery has already started for Turkey but hosting SITE Executive Summit will provide further impetus and help us truly re-ignite the incentive flame in our destination. Thanks to Turkish Airlines, access to global source markets has never been better and investment across the full spectrum of hotel types continues unabated. Buyers in search of a truly transformational destination at the right price won’t ever see again the value available in Turkey these days” said Hasan Dinc, CITP, president of SITE Turkey and Managing Director, ODS Turkey.
“The Incentive Travel Industry Index highlights how Turkey can benefit from new, emerging source markets in China and Latin America while continuing to respond to strong demand from the more traditional ones like the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe. The entire SITE leadership team was hugely impressed by the new Istanbul airport, by the outstanding hotel product and, especially, by the deep professionalism of the local incentive travel community. We believe the flame of incentive travel in Turkey is indeed burning brightly and we look forward to Istanbul becoming, once again, a beacon of inspiration for destinations all over the world”, said Philip Eidsvold, CIS, CITP, President of SITE 2019 and VP, Strategic Partnerships, One10.
“SITE brought the European SITE University to Istanbul in 1998 and, since then, we’ve always had a strong SITE chapter in Turkey. In the 20 plus years since 1998, despite some ups and downs, Istanbul has become one of the most sought after destinations for incentive travel with an extraordinary range of quality five-star properties and a unique west meets east cultural offering that ensures the city lives long in your heart after you’ve been there”, added Didier Scaillet, CIS, CITP, CEO of SITE.