DESTINATION Asia has picked up World Marketing Group (WMG) to represent it in North America after rival Pacific World dropped its 32-year relationship with the group last month and appointed Destination Asia’s North America representative, Ruby Serra, effective January 1.
With the US incentives market in its strongest position since the Lehman crisis, according to SITE International, Destination Asia aims to increase its piece of the market through a “shared legacy of market knowledge and customer service in incentive travel and event management” between the two companies. Veteran Jane Schuldt leads WMG as its president.
The North American leisure market is also expected to surge in 2015 and 2016 with the recent appreciation of the US dollar and a stable North American retail outbound travel business, said James Reed, CEO, group MD of Destination Asia, who alluded to the tie-up recently.
In an email interview with TTG Asia e-Daily, he said Destination Asia is now forecasting a 50 per cent increase in US and Canadian incentives this year and 2016, compared with 25 per cent prior to this appointment.
The US/Canada market comprises 20 per cent of its current business.
“With Asia’s economies tipped to boom for the foreseeable future, we are very excited about this new marketing co-operation in North America as most international corporations will be sending incentives and organising meetings on behalf of their overseas manufacturing and services divisions in the Far East,” said Reed.
“Most Fortune 600 corporations in the US have a factory, regional HQ, or service/research centre somewhere in China, for example.”
The partnership with WMG will be effective February 1.
Asked about the two rivals trading places, Reed said: “Several of our friends in the travel industry have contacted me this morning saying it looks like two baseball or soccer or NBA teams ‘trading players’, which it is actually not. It was compatibility, Asia MICE expertise and on-the-ground professionalism – so we’ll see which team comes out the winner at the end of 2015!”