Safety, familiarity key concerns for US incentive planners

INCENTIVE groups from the US are not choosing Singapore as a destination because of concerns on safety and a lack of understanding of what the island country has to offer, according to some panellists at the Trends in Incentive Travel panel discussion at theSingapore: A Curated Discovery seminar.

Bill Sellmer, president, Sellmer Meeting & Incentive Travel, said that Americans are “ignorant of geography” and had the perception that “Singapore is not that safe”.

But concerns about Singapore not being safe were not well-founded as it is known to be a safe country.

Alluding to this gap between perception and reality, Ping He, Maritz Travel’s global general manager, Asia-Pacific, said: “The key word is perceived safety.”

Groups from the US are also deterred by the fear of an unfamiliar destination far from home.

Mike Farmer, vice president, group travel business development, Meridian Enterprises, said coming to Asia means long flights and North-Americans know more about nearby Europe than faraway Asia.

“There is the fear of getting around cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong,” he added.

However, he opined that groups from the US can be motivated to pick Singapore if they had the right information.

“If you can get the client here on a site inspection, Singapore will sell.”

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