All eyes are on the “EU10” — the 10 countries that joined the European Union May 1. Bob Guerriero, president of The Journeymasters, Salem, Mass., reports that he just booked his first group to Prague, and Bill Vastine, executive vice president of Galactic Ltd., Arlington, Texas, also reports growing interest in Prague and Budapest. Other countries with great incentive appeal are new EU member Malta and candidate country Croatia. Vastine, along with 170 incentive planners from 23 countries, participated in ESNEP, the European SITE Networking & Educational Program, in early April in Zagreb, Croatia.
How will the inclusion of these countries in the EU affect incentive planners? One significant change is that they will slowly replace local currency with euros (the complete changeover won't take place until 2008). Also, an expected boost in meetings and corporate travel will result in a more sophisticated hospitality infrastructure. In Croatia, for example, the elegant Hotel Argentina in Dubrovnik was recently renovated, as was the five-star Westin in Zagreb.