Incentive Groups Visiting India Travel Off the Beaten Path

Many of the luxury houseboats In Kerala come with their own chefs, who prepare gourmet meals using local ingredients.
Many of the luxury houseboats In Kerala come with their own chefs, who prepare gourmet meals using local ingredients.

Incentive groups visiting India seek to experience a genuine connection with this special place, and planners can choose many ways to immerse attendees in the local culture.

Located in India’s deep south, Kerala made it onto the incentive map after a 2011 Site Crystal award–winning program by Colt Technology. This area is known for its lush and pristine scenery, and is often referred to as “God’s Own Country.” Here, a company can create its own exotic Hindu festival with costumes, entertainers and even elephants. An area of rivers and backwaters, Kerala is also known for its houseboats, many of which are richly appointed and serve wonderful cuisine.

Many incentive trips to India visit what is known as the “Golden Triangle,” of Delhi (the point of entry), then Agra and Jaipur, but another option for an authentic beach experience is Goa. Here, groups can spend the day on the beach diving or enjoying watersports, and the evening dining under the stars.

On the pampering side, Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing native to India, has seen a major resurgence. A popular option is an Ayurvedic massage done by specially trained therapists who customize each session based on the person’s mind-body type.

Luxury accommodations abound in these regions of India, with chains including Taj, Oberoi and Marriott.

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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 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and 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, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.