Our top 10 incentive travel destinations for 2019

Posted by Jo Kelly

Incentive travel trips can help you get the best results from your staff, from increasing motivation to creating emotional ties with your business. Incentive travel programs encourage staff to strive to win a place on once-in-a-lifetime trips and enjoy unforgettable experiences. Trips also tend to create intrigue and a healthy sense of competition amongst teammates.

The much-anticipated selection of destinations for 2019 looks at city break hotspots through to trending country destinations. Jo Kelly, our Events Operations Manager, explains the 2019 list, the reasoning behind the choices, and the exciting and unique activities your staff could be lucky enough to experience. 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The high-rise capital of the United Arab Emirates makes this year’s list for many reasons. It provides a reasonable flight time (under seven hours) for a long-haul incentive travel destination and makes a good alternative to the popular Dubai. With its impressive skyline, surrounding desert and mega centers for high-end shopping, Abu Dhabi provides luxury lifestyle alongside a good mix of culture and activities. The city is also a good place for winter sun, perfect if you’re looking to take your staff to a hot climate at the start of the year.

Exciting and unique activities your staff could experience include a desert safari, 4×4 over sand dune driving – known as dune bashing – as well as a night in the dunes sleeping under the stars. There’s also Ferrari World, the biggest indoor theme park of its kind, where staff can get behind the wheel of a Ferrari. Abu Dhabi is a great destination for building a trip around a sporting event – fast becoming a popular way to do incentive travel. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the final race of the season so a must-attend event.

Cape Town, South Africa 

Next on the list is South Africa’s vibrant coastal capital, Cape Town. The port city is great for incentive travel – firstly because the capital and the UK share the same time zone. This means staff shouldn’t suffer from jet lag and can fly overnight so they don’t lose a day travelling. It has a great deal to offer, from the bustling city and its thriving nightlife, to being just hours away from game drives and incredible safaris. It also makes a great destination for the summer or those businesses who want staff to experience some winter sun.

Highlights your staff can experience include seeing the big marine 5, consisting of the African penguin, Cape fur seal, dolphin, Southern right whale, and great white shark. Your best performers could see the penguin colony at Boulders Beach or be brave enough to experience shark cage diving. Staff could also experience a trip to the top of Table Mountain or enjoy seeing the sights from a motorbike on a Harley Davidson tour. Or, they could take a ride on the Blue Train and stay overnight on one of the world’s most luxurious trains.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

This beautiful city in Southern Croatia, known as the pearl of the Adriatic Sea, is seeing its popularity rise as a top destination for incentive travel. The UNESCO World Heritage site is a great destination for warm, rather than sweaty-hot, weather. It also brings a grand and luxurious lifestyle, a popular nightlife, and has become a big hangout for celebrities.

Activities that your staff could experience include island hopping across the Elaphiti Islands, where they can enjoy different activities on or around each island, such as bike riding, jet skiing or a water pack jet flight. They could also take part in a team-building land versus sea race, where staff are split into two teams, racing by land in jeeps and on water by boat. When the sun goes down, they could experience the unique nightclub, Culture Club Revelin, which is based inside a 500-year-old medieval fortress. Dubrovnik is also used as a key location to film the popular TV series, Game of Thrones – fans of the show can enjoy a tour to see some of the series most iconic locations.

India

Rather than selecting one specific part of this magnificent country, India as a whole, makes it into the list for 2019. It can provide two incredible, but completely different, experiences for staff – the cultural route or the beach route. You could also combine the two to create one unforgettable incentive travel trip. It’s not a place many people choose as a standard holiday destination and, with so much to see and take in, it has to be seen to be believed.

Choose the cultural route and staff can explore the Golden Triangle. This is India’s famous tourist circuit which connects the national capital of Delhi, with the cities Jaipur and Agra – the home to the iconic Taj Mahal. Meanwhile, those who choose the beach route can experience the country’s stunning coastlines. Staff can enjoy bamboo rafting or experience an overnight stay on a river boat cruise along the backwaters of Kerala. Or they could trek through the mountains or watch tigers in the wild. The possibilities to explore India’s wildlife, culture and landscape are infinite.

Gstaad, Switzerland

Becoming an iconic destination for incentive travel, and appearing on are list for 2019, is the village of Gstaad. Located in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, the stylish destination combines different experiences – from its many ski resorts and après ski scene, it offers amazing views and fantastic photo opportunities at every turn.

Its unique highlight is the igloo village, Iglu-Dorf Gstaad. There, your staff can experience a night in its ice hotel and a meal at its ice restaurant whilst admiring the breath-taking views. For those looking for some winter sport adrenaline action, staff can enjoy skiing or snowboarding. Or for a more relaxing activity, they could experience riding in a candlelit cable car, before being wined and dined in a mountain-top restaurant.

Incentive travel programmes encourage staff to strive to win a place on once-in-a-lifetime trips, they create intrigue and a healthy sense of competition amongst teammates also.

See our Incentive Travel inspiration ideas

Ireland

If you’re looking to take your staff to a destination that has a short flight time or, would like to offer a one night trip, Ireland is ideal (from mainland UK!). Described as the most beautiful country on Earth, the whole country makes it onto the list because it provides so much variety and things to do on both its east and west coasts. For instance, Dublin on the east coast is a wonderful city full of culture, but Galway, on the west coast, is equally as special.

Exciting activities that staff could experience include a private tour of the Jameson Whiskey Distillery, or a trip along the coastlines to take in the stunning scenery. There are also many stunning Irish castles which are available to hire, making a great location to hold a team dinner or evening event and enjoy some true Irish culture. With its horseracing and greyhound racing and 3Arena, Ireland is also a great destination to build a trip around a sports event or an iconic music concert.

Miami, Florida

This all-year-round destination at Florida’s south eastern tip, with its beautiful white sandy beaches and legendary nightlife, can provide a really special and exciting experience for your best performers. Best described as the US version of Ibiza, the thriving city is a popular hangout for celebrities and a big party destination. This high-caliber city can also make a good alternative to New York or San Francisco, with better weather, and a shorter flight time.

Unique and exciting activities could include watching the excitement of an American Football game, seeing the Miami Dolphins in action. Staff could spot alligators and crocodiles in the waters of the Everglades – the only place on earth to see both reptiles together. Or they could do some celebrity spotting and enjoy a tour to see the rich and famous and their impressive houses. After the sun goes down, they could dance the night away in one of Miami’s many stylish nightclubs.

Marrakech, Morocco 

This former imperial city, in western Morocco, makes a great hot destination for incentive travel all year round, with temperatures reaching lows of 18° and highs of up to 36°. At 4 1/2 hours, flights aren’t too long. From its bustling souks – bringing an atmosphere that’s described as unique in the world – to its serene Atlas Mountains, Marrakech offers a different kind of experience.

Exciting activities that staff participate in include quad biking or exploring a local souk where they can be taught the art of bartering. They could also visit one of the area’s many traditional Berber villages, camp out and sleep under the stars. For a taste of sheer luxury, you could whisk your best performers off to Kasbah Tamadot, Richard Brandon’s Moroccan Retreat. Based in the Atlas Mountains, the luxury hotel is perched at the top of a valley and offers magnificent views and a personal butler service.

Reykjavik, Iceland

We don’t tend to pick the same destination twice for our annual incentive travel lists, but for Iceland’s incredible capital city (which featured in our list for 2017) we have made an exception. This great winter destination offers so much to see and do, with some world-beating photo opportunities –spectacular scenery and the best place on the planet to see the Northern Lights. It is a leading eco-friendly destination, which is becoming a focus for businesses when choosing where to go for incentive travel.

Exciting and unique activities include swimming in the famous Blue Lagoon, bathing in a geothermal bath, and experiencing a private tour of the Northern Lights. Staff could also have a go at driving monster trucks over glaciers, ice climbing, or eating an Icelandic buffet on ice. Or you could take your top performers for a private whale watching session, with the waters off Reykjavik providing a 99% chance of seeing these magnificent creatures.

South Korea

With South Korea being the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the country is gradually moving up the ranks as a popular place to go for incentive travel. It’s somewhere most might not have considered to visit but would love to experience, given the chance. Different to Hong Kong and China, which have both been on the incentive travel map for years, South Korea provides an experience you will never forget. With its dramatic seasonal changes, including beautiful blooming springtime cherry blossoms, it’s a destination that is good to visit all year round.

Exciting activities could include visiting the country’s striking palaces to learn about the Korean history, or going to the top of the Lotte World Tower, one of the world’s tallest buildings. A local chef could give your staff a demonstration on how to cook a barbecue Korean-style. Or they could experience the thriving nightlife, with South Korea offering some great bars and an exciting club scene. It’s also worth planning your trip around an event, such as a summer music festival or the popular Boryeong Mud Festival.

Experiencing incentive travel in the world’s top destinations

From Ireland to India, Miami to Marrakesh, our list of top destinations for 2019 aim to create unforgettable experiences to help get the best performance out of your staff.

CR Worldwide can quickly, design, develop and implement incentive travel trips that provide a range of benefits to help your staff and, in turn, your business. They are: 

Engaging – Our trips aim to quickly enhance loyalty and performance, create an emotional bond with your brand, and increase company awareness.  

Easy to manage – Run and hosted by dedicated managers who help to execute your ideal itinerary, our trips come with exciting schedules of activities and experiences. 

Easy to implement – Quick to set up, our trips are tailored to suit your staff, your needs and your business goals.

We’d love to excite, engage and inspire your staff with our services in incentive travel. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

Jo has worked at CR Worldwide as Events Operations Director since 2004. She is responsible for scoping and delivering all types of events, for clients of all sizes, globally. She manages the division’s team who organise and execute award-winning events – ranging from one-off sales floor days, corporate hospitality events and incentive travel trips, to annual conferences and partner summits.