India Claims Incentive Spotlight

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India is firmly planted in the incentive spotlight with the Site Global Conference having just visited in October. The lavish 403-room Taj Palace in New Delhi served as the headquarters hotel. Among the highlights were pre- and post-tours to the Taj Mahal, Golden Triangle and Mumbai, where the group visited the famous Elephant Caves, temples dating back to the 7th century.

“Holding the SITE Global Conference here is a demonstration to the world that India is an amazing incentive destination,” says Rhonda Brewer, SITE president and vice president, sales, Maritz Travel Company. “The region is full of beauty, rich in culture and very warm and welcoming. And with experienced DMCs and incredible hotel products, the service is just amazing.”

The winner of the 2015 Site Crystal Award in the category of Excellence in Incentive Travel also went to a program that took place in India. Operated by Creative Travel Pvt. Ltd. for its client, Cementos Moctezuma, it targeted top-selling distributors. Highlights included a drive through Delhi’s centuries-old bazaars on cycle-rickshaws and a game of elephant polo among participants.

Luxury hotel development in India is booming, with the country’s first Ritz-Carlton opening last year in Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore), the capital of India’s southern state and its high-tech epicenter. The 277-room hotel features 1,500 works of art, a rooftop bar, and 7 restaurants. The new all-suite luxury resort, ITC Grand Bharat in Gurgaom, features a Jack Nicklaus–designed 27-hole golf course and the Kaya Kalp Spa. Accor’s Grand Mercure Goa Shrem Resort, opened last year, is set away from Goa’s bustling beaches, with 16 meeting rooms, a vitality pool and a spa offering Ayuvedic treatments.

Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts just opened its first property in Western India, the 121-room Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa, with 122 stylish rooms and suites, all with private balconies, and locally inspired culinary offerings, such as Chingari, featuring the fiery preparations of Northern India. It has more than 2,500 sf of meeting space.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.