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Your Guide to 2018’s Top Incentive Travel Destinations

Mandy Espey and Liz Mikkelsen

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Whether it’s a remote, snowy paradise in Wyoming or a bustling adventure in a far-off city, there’s no shortage of incredible incentive travel destinations.

But your top performers deserve the very best. They deserve something new. After all, the same-old-same-old travel destination won’t motivate your people to put in all that hard work.

While Condé Nast has their own Gold List of top travel destinations, take a look at our list of impressive incentive travel destinations—some traditional and some not-so-traditional—that give trip qualifiers a truly distinctive, memorable experience:

      

International Incentive Travel Destinations Orange Button

Domestic Travel Incentive Destinations Orange Button

Natural Adventure Travel Incentive Destinations Orange Button

      

International Destinations  

 

Seville, Spain incentive travel destination

Seville, Spain

Smaller than its more famous sister cities Barcelona and Madrid, Seville is walkable, hospitable and offers great weather, food and hospitality. Stay at the city’s landmark, Alfonso XIII hotel, King Alfonso’s former party palace.

 

 

Belfast, Ireland castle on a hill overlooking the ocean

Belfast, Ireland and the Causeway Coast

Steeped in myth and legend, this cosmopolitan city is making a resurgence on the travel scene.

 

 

Toronto, Canada city skyline overlooking the water

Toronto, Canada

With high accessibility from the U.S., including direct flights from multiple cities, Toronto is an affordable destination that offers luxury accommodations, culinary delights and nightlife that is sure to impress. Great locale for meetings, with U.S. groups capitalizing on the USD current strength against the CAD (nearly a 25% discount!).

 

 

City in Croatia where Game of Thrones is filmed

Croatia

Attention all Game of Thrones fans, Croatia is quickly becoming one of Europe’s hottest travel destinations. Whether you are exploring the city walls and forts in Dubrovnik, the ancient temples in Split or one of the country's beautiful beaches, Croatia is sure to leave you wanting to come back again and again.

 

 

Amsterdam Travel Destination

Amsterdam, Holland

Museums, art, history, architecture—what’s not to like? Take your people on a cruise through the canals of this historic city and give them the opportunity to rent a bike to wind through the cobblestone streets at their own pace.

 

 

Budapest, Hungary Travel Destination

Budapest, Hungary

On the banks of the Danube, this gleaming European metropolis has been around since the 800s, but flaunts a distinct 19th-century flair. Check out the 80+ geothermal springs, Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge and much more.

 

 

Travel to Delhi, India

Delhi, India

As a historic capital for India’s centuries of kingdoms, Delhi contains some of the country’s most epic ruins of empires of the past alongside modern splendors, such as Lodhi Gardens, the Lotus Temple and the aromatic cuisine and bustle of Chandni Chowk.

 

 

Lucerne, Switzerland travel destination

Lucerne, Switzerland

With a population of around 80,000, Lucerne is the perfect hideaway for a stressed out, top-performing sales team. The perfectly preserved, medieval Altstadt (Old Town) and nostalgic fondness for Swiss traditions make Lucerne a magical getaway.

 

 

City of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hosting the G20 Summit and Youth Olympic Games this year, all eyes will be on this cosmopolitan metropolis, made famous for its architecture, cuisine, music and most recently, the hometown of the current Catholic Pope. Vast development is taking place in preparation to take the world stage.

 

 

Phuket, Thailand Travel

Phuket, Thailand

This island off the west coast of Thailand (pronounced with a silent “h”; rhymes with “bouquet”) is the definition of sun-soaked, luxurious living. Yachts, deep-sea diving and snow-white beaches are just the start.

 

 

Dubai Travel Destination

Dubai, UAE

Home to the tallest skyline in the world—along with the world’s tallest structure—your people will love the opulence of this hotspot on the Persian Gulf. As the “shopping capital of the Middle East” and home to a yearly shopping festival, your people can shop ‘til they drop.

 

 

Traveling to Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia, Italy

It’s Italian, but…not quite. With its own languages and traditions separate from the mainland’s, this island is a unique splendor. Surrounded by crystal-blue waters and silky beaches with a mountainous center, there’s lots to explore. Is Arutas is a can’t-miss.

      

      

Domestic Destinations

      

Asheville, North Carolina at sunset

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville was named the top U.S. travel destination by Lonely Planet last year. Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city offers outdoor activities galore, as well as tons of shopping and the famous Biltmore Estate.

 

 

Fountain in a park in Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Gaining traction as an alternative to its more famous sister city, Charleston, Savannah offers a charming historic district, beautiful home tours and excursions ranging from riverboats to ghost tours to the shores of Tybee Island.

 

 

Travel to Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

It gets a reputation as a hip, millennial-focused city, but Portland is perfect for incentive travel participants of all generations. Get some coffee in the Pearl District and go shopping for a nice raincoat downtown. (With notoriously wet weather, you might need it.)

 

 

San Antonio, Texas Travel Destination

San Antonio, Texas

In “the best city in Texas,” according to one Forbes article, your participants can stroll the River Walk, eat some of the country’s best barbecue and check out one of the largest street festivals in the country.

 

 

Sea turtle in the ocean near Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

Voted the 6th best island in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2017, Maui will be attracting even more visitors in 2018. Hawaii is also predicted to have some of its lowest air fares in 2018.

 

 

Bend, Oregon incentive travel destination with a waterfall in the forest

Bend, Oregon

Bend has the highest number of microbreweries per capita, natural beauty and activities galore year around. Check out Yelp for a list of some of the best breweries to visit, including Deschutes Brewery and Boneyard Beer.

 

 

Traveling to Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Not only is D.C. the nation's capital, it’s one of the historical, culinary and cultural hubs of the nation. The White House is just the start—the 19 Smithsonian museums, 12 Michelin-starred restaurants and countless points of interest will get everyone’s vote.

 

 

Travel to Orange County, California Beach Destinations

Orange County, California

Known in popular culture as “The OC,” Orange County is a home run for incentive travel participants and their families. Offer a scenic, romantic drive down the Pacific Coast Highway or give tickets to “The Happiest Place On Earth,” Disneyland.

 

 

Hawaii Incentive Travel Destinations

Honolulu, Oahu

Surf’s up! Hitting the beaches for some surf and sun is a way of life in the largest city in Hawaii. But once your people hang up their surfboards, visiting Chinatown, Waikiki and the secluded beaches of ritzy Kāhala is a must.

 

 

Central Business District in New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

The city will supersize its parties this year as they turn 300 years old! Festival of Lights, a revitalized Central Business District and new three-mile riverfront projects are in store to wow every traveler.

 

 

Incentive Travel Destination Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

25 miles southwest of the relatively busy Charlestown, Kiawah Island offers a peaceful getaway for your incentive travel participants. Hit the links on one of the nation’s top-ranked golf courses or just soak up the sun on the island’s 10 miles of beaches.

     

      

Natural Adventures

      

Chile wilderness

Chile

An adventurer's mecca, this destination offers remote wildlife excursions. For an experience unlike any other, explore the fjords of Patagonia.

 

 

Iceland Incentive Travel Destinations

Reykjavik, Iceland

As the world’s northernmost world capital, Reykjavik can be chilly. But that doesn’t mean the city or your incentive travel participants can’t have fun. Thermal hot springs, year-round festivals and a distinctly European feel—all only a 5-hour flight away from the East Coast.

 

 

Peru Machu Picchu travel destination

Peru

Renowned for its beauty in the Andes Mountains and the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru offers a natural adventure you'll never forget.

 

 

Zambia Africa Travel Experience

Zambia, Africa

Looking for a truly unique outdoors adventure? Zambia’s the place. Landlocked in south-central Africa, this country is the place for a natural getaway. Victoria Falls is a must, and a safari is a perfect way to get the whole team together.

 

 

Douro River cruising in Portugal

Portugal River Cruising

While the Danube and Rhine Rivers still reign on the incentive spectrum, interest is high on the Douro River with roundtrip Porto, Portugal itineraries, highlighting a historic wine region with options to pre/post extend in Lisbon.

 

 

Travel to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Nestled in a valley between the Teton and the Gros Ventre mountain ranges, Jackson Hole is a premier spot for fans of the outdoors. World-class skiing, scenic snowshoeing, quiet evenings in the wilderness—there’s something for everyone.

     

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