Incentive travel priority for tourism professionals

The new president of the Florida chapter of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, the Cayman Islands’ own Jane van der Bol, has big plans for the organisation. 

To that end, Ms van der Bol – the executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association – spent the weekend of 31 January to 2 February at a special retreat with the members of the group, which is tasked with promoting and educating tourists about the value of incentive travel. Incentive travel is often used by companies to reward employees or big clients with special trips abroad as a thank you for hitting sales targets or making significant purchases. 

“This is where I get to meet the board members face to face,” Ms van der Bol said. “We have expanded the reach from the big Florida region to the Caribbean and opened it up. One of the things I am doing this year is changing the chapter name, which is not a small undertaking. It will be a milestone to call it the Florida and Caribbean chapter. 

“This year, we have also taken on three or four Caribbean board members which really does open up the region. We will be one of the biggest chapters in Society of Incentive Travel Executives Global,” she added. 

There is also a new educational programme, the Caribbean Incentive Workshop, directed toward the region. 

“We hosted the first one in Curacao in 2012 and I would really like to host it this year in Cayman,” Ms van der Bol said. 

“It will either be here or Aruba. It is like Incentive 101 and gives the locals the opportunity to learn about incentive travel, what it means to a country and to understand what is expected from the companies that buy incentive travel in your country.”  

Ms van der Bol said the board retreat was held in the Portofino Bay Resort in Orlando. That is also the location for the yearly Society of Incentive Travel Executives Global conference, which was in Beijing in 2012. 

“Our chapter will get a lot of recognition this year,” she said. “Being president of the Florida chapter and also being from Cayman it means that the Cayman Islands will get a lot of recognition this year.”
More imminent is the handover of presidency, which takes place later this month. 

“On 22 February in Miami on the Oceana Riviera, one of their brand new cruise ships, we are also holding the installation where the old board of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives will talk about what they did in 2012, then hand over to the new board,” Ms van der Bol said. “We will then talk about what we plan to do this year. The board retreat sets us up for the message which we will deliver on that date, when there is also a general meeting.” 

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