The Site Executive Summit has a long-standing tradition of annually selecting unique destinations to receive focused education from the Site International Board of Directors. In 2013, Egypt received this honor because of its rich cultural appeal as well as the country’s ongoing changes and concerning media attention. It was clear that the incentive and tourism professionals in the region would benefit greatly from the education and expertise of Site global leaders, who could offer training, motivation and insight.
Site President David Sand, CEO of Uwin Iwin Incentives, opened the event with the following remarks: “It is a wonderful feeling to be here in Egypt at this incredibly important time in your history. The prime reason for us being here is to strengthen the long-standing relationships we as the Site Global community have with Egypt. We want to put a positive spotlight back on Egypt as a first-class incentive destination and to collaborate with sharing ideas and the latest concepts during our education sessions to follow.”
The core education program began with Jim Adams, President of Performance Strategies, Inc., leading a session on “Fundamentals of an Incentive Travel Program.” Adams emphasized that incentives will always work if people want the prize, and he encouraged members of the Egyptian travel and tourism sector to figure out how to best position their destination to be the dream that makes incentive participants want to achieve business results. Adams then offered insight into rules structures and participant profiles.
Other educational highlights from the Summit included the following presentations from Site International Board Members:
- Rhonda Brewer, VP, Group Business Manager, Sales for Maritz Travel Company, led a session on how to build a better program by thoughtful attention to the participant engagement experience.
- Paul Miller, Managing Director of Spectra, and Aoife Delaney, Director of Global Sales for Ovation Global DMC, reviewed the expectations of and challenges for destination management companies, reminding delegates that it is not enough to “think outside the box,” they must “live outside the box.”
- Olga Navarro, Executive Director of ITB DMC, focused on how harnessing simple and readily available technology can strengthen organization brands and enhance communications with customers.
- Rajeev Kohli, Joint Managing Director, Creative Travel Pvt. Ltd., discussed acknowledgement and recovery during crisis situations. He shared his personal story as an operator in India, stressing that crisis is the twin of opportunity. Rajeev urged Egypt’s industry leaders to create a private and public crisis management team.
- Annamaria Ruffini, President & CEO of Events In & Out S.R.L, and Ping Liu, CEO of China Star Ltd., offered insight into what the buyers and participants coming from Europe and China want to see addressed as part of the request for proposal process and ground program.
- Jonathan Richards, Sales Manager, Corporate Gifts Division for Maui Jim Sunglasses & Zeal Optics, explored the art of selecting gifts to enhance the overall event experience.
Another highlight of the event was the presence of Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou. Minister Zaazou provided an encouraging and promising message to the delegates and emphasized the need to show the world the true state of the tourism industry in Egypt, emphasizing the need to harness social media and on-point messaging. Minister Zaazou then honored Site with a 40th anniversary cake and thanked Site leaders for holding this esteemed event in their country.
Site Managing Director Allison Summers stated, “We offer sincere appreciation to the Site members, host committee and office of the Ministry of Tourism. The Site leaders came to Egypt to provide education, but we believe that in the end we received much more than we gave. We elevated our personal awareness of the destination and met extraordinary professionals who are ready to deliver incentive groups incredible one of a kind experiences.”
Site thanks its host venue The Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino as well as the lead event partners: Egypt Air, Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, Egyptian Tourism Federation, Egyptian Travel Agents Association, Euromic and the Four Seasons Cairo.
Site also thanks the Host Committee Chair, Adel Zaki of ITTA Tours, and other committee members: Karim El Minabawy, Emeco Travel; Mohamed Farouk, Egypt Express Travel; George Fawzi, Excel Travel; Mohsen Abdine, Fly Well Travel; and Mona Talhami, Sakkara Tours.