Basque Region: Ready for Incentives
The term “emerging” implies that a destination might have had problems in the past—like an insufficient infrastructure, or destination management companies that were not quite up to speed—but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, it just hasn’t made it onto the radar yet for U.S. groups. Other times, it might have undergone a period of financial or political instability and then reached a point at which these things were no longer issues.
Take the Basque region of Spain, which is seeing increased interest from clients, according to Jim Schultenover, president of Krisam Group, Washington, D.C., a global hotel rep firm. His company (which is a sister company to giant Global Events Partners) is in the planning stages of a 2014 distributor incentive trip to the Basque region that will include the three distinctly different destinations of historical San Sebastian, industrial Bilbao, and the Basque countryside, all a short distance apart. Highlights will include catamaran rides and gastronomical adventures in San Sebastian, a visit to the famous Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and a day where winners will have their own car and driver to explore the countryside. The base will be the Maria Cristina, an incentive-quality property that’s part of Starwood Hotels’ Luxury Collection.
Schultenover finds this region “particularly interesting because it isn’t your ‘typical’ Spanish destination,” he says. “For while, it was not favored by the U.S. customer due to political reasons, but we believe it has opened up.”