Incentives on the Rise Down Under Typically, Australian incentive qualifiers are senior executives or sales and marketing colleagues journeying in a group for a five-day stay on the Gold Coast, a resort area in the island continent's east coast state of Queensland.

So says a recent study commissioned by the SITE Foundation and conducted by the Centre for Economic Studies, Adelaide & Flinders Universities in Adelaide. The survey of 2,600 Australian businesses found that, while the cash bonus remains king Down Under, there is "evidence of a dramatic increase in the use of travel incentives over the last 10 years."

Much of this increase is recent. More companies have begun travel incentive programs in 1996 to 1997 than in any previous two-year period. No respondent to the survey had an incentive program that was more than 20 years old.

Other survey highlights:

* Most trips are arranged in-house (64.7 percent), by travel agents (44.1 percent), directly with the destination/airline/operator (17.6), or some combination of these three.

* The most popular Australian destinations were the Gold Coast, far north Queensland, Sydney, and Melbourne.

* The most popular international destinations were the United States, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. Some companies also expressed interest in taking groups to destinations the survey called "a little more exotic," such as Latin America, Greece, Monaco, and Canada.

* The type of trip recipients preferred varied. Those who traveled in groups favored regional sales conferences in new destinations, and those who traveled independently wanted "something they could never duplicate by themselves."