Are you planning for your next international event and looking for convenient destinations? You have landed exactly on the right page. Here are the 5 best destinations styled in its own flavour that is sure to leave an indelible memoir in your guests' mind even after they head back to their homeland.
REASON: This popular resort destination of Monaco will leave you in that perfect mood since it's the city with a world of high-stakes glamour with a royal twist. Here the yachts are as big as mansions, champagne is the national drink and even the railway station looks like a pharaoh's tomb. A city where you can arrive in style in an Aston Martin DB5, twirling down the hairpin bends from the Alps. Your delegates would be delighted to have that business meeting at one of the many magnificent yachts of the Monte Carlo Harbour and have a close-up view of the rich-and-famous playground that served as a location for the James Bond movie Golden Eye.
ACCOMODATION: Monte Carlo offers a classy statement for stay for its visitors. Only a dice's roll from the Grand Casino and the lavish boutiques of the Carre d'Or, there are magnificent heritage hotels built in style. The city homes the luxury resort currently listed on the annual Conde Nast Traveller Gold List.
CUISINE: Gourmet travellers will never be bored in Monte Carlo as the choice of gastronomic facilities here is truly very diverse. Be it an elegant dining room with a beachside view, a sidewalk cafe, a celebrity restaurant, or a dining experience along the yachts, relaxed dining along the race tracks, the city has it all.
TEAM BUILDING/OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Jet-skiing, sea-kayaking rentals in the Mediterranean waters calls for a refreshing fun activity after a daylong corporate session. The Helicopter Tour of Monte Carlo which offers an incredible aerial view of Monte Carlo's most jaw-dropping attractions -- the Prince's Palace, the Monte Carlo Casino and the Monaco Grand Prix racetrack -- along with the sheer beauty of this stretch of French Riviera coastline, is a memory that will last lifelong.
VISA/GOVT PERMISSION STRUCTURE: Foreign nationals who hold a residence permit issued by a Schengen State are also authorised to enter and stay in Monaco. Holders of a valid Schengen visa covering France or a visa with limited territorial validity (LTV) for France are permitted to enter and stay in Monaco
REASON: Mark Twain once wrote, 'Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius'. Rightly famed for its sapphire-blue waters, powder-white beaches, luxury resorts that provide a front-row seat onto some of the most beautiful views in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius denotes the supreme levels of comfort and luxury. The geographical location of Mauritius makes it ideally suited to teams working between Europe and southern Africa, Australia and Asia. The tropical climate, beach-front hotels and diverse multicultural heritage adds to its convenience. Just 20 degrees south of the equator, Mauritius promotes itself as a year-round destination, although most people associate it with winter sun.
Mauritius has an advantage over other MICE destinations in the Indian Ocean as it houses the region's largest and most modern convention centre: the Swami Vivekananda Conference Centre in Pailles.
ACCOMODATION: The tourism hub is in the north around Grand Baie, which has the greatest concentration of hotels, beaches and entertainment. The east coast is most renowned, with some of the most celebrated hotels and stretches of arguably the most beautiful white sand beaches, while the flat, calm beaches of the west coast are favoured by families. The "beautiful" south is the island's wilder, but perhaps more interesting side. There are clutches of hotels in the southeast and more to be found squeezed onto calm stretches near pounding surf and clifftop walks in the "green" southwest.
CUISINE: The ethnic diversity of Mauritius is reflected in its cuisine. When referring to ethnic cuisine in Mauritius, you refer to Chinese, Creole, Indian, European and Muslim cooking. Sea food is popular with fresh water prawns, smoked marlin, venison and palm heart are amongst the island's specialities. Top hotels in Mauritius boast renowned chefs and expensive gourmet cuisine. Restaurants are widespread but variable in quality. Dining out can be casual or glitzy. You will find Gajaks (snacks) sellers on carts or bicycles with a glass case on streets, markets and beachside
TEAM BUILDING/OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: There are a wide variety of activities for MICE groups to explore - golf to adventure sports such as quad biking, trekking, mountain biking, zip-lining, hunting, parasailing, canoeing, and sky-diving, boat excursions into the beautiful islands of the lagoon, terrific opportunities of snorkelling since Mauritius is surrounded by shallow waters, a coral reef, sublime underwater topography and a dramatic ocean drop-off. The island also offers countless stunning outdoor locations for team-building exercises. The quality and variety of accommodation, the attention to detail in service delivery, state-of-the-art conferencing venues, and the vast number of additional activities on offer all guarantee genuine value for money. The island has a microclimate - so it can be raining where you are, with the sun shining five minutes away. This is worth bearing in mind when planning activities.
VISA/GOVT PERMISSION STRUCTURE: Indian Nationals traveling to Mauritius for tourist or business purposes will be granted a 60-day visa on arrival provided that they have a valid return ticket, that they are eligible to re-enter their country of origin or residence and have adequate funds to meet the cost of their stay.
REASON: An Island kissed by tropical sea, it is as mesmerizing as it gets. It's a beach lover's paradise. Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food make Sri Lanka irresistible. Lying between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka's history, culture and natural beauty are undeniably alluring. It's the place you haven't been to yet, that you should. Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area as this.
ACCOMODATION: If you've ever wondered what it might be like to live in a glass house among a pristine nature reserve, you must visit this country. Certain top resorts here provide guests with bicycles so they can explore the expansive property during the quiet hours of dawn of when all of nature's magnificence is stirring, or at their leisure throughout the day. If you want to rest among a wild and pristine seascape of coconut groves and unspoiled beach, Sri Lanka will not leave you disappointed.
CUISINE: If you want to get to know Sri Lankan cuisine, you're in for a treat. With influences from Arab traders, Malay navigators, Portuguese, Dutch and British colonists, and South Indian neighbours, you'll be captivated by some of the local dishes. Don't miss out on the Coconut Curries galore, Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry)and the wood apple fruit. Kool seafood, from the northern region around Jaffna is a mixed seafood broth with crab, fish, prawns and cuttlefish with long beans, spinach and tamarind
TEAM BUILDING/OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: One can see the sacred home of world's oldest living human-planted tree in the morning (Anuradhapura) and stand awestruck by the sight of hundreds of elephants gathering in the afternoon (Minneriya National Park and Wilapattu National Park). Discover a favourite beach, meditate in a 2000-year-old temple (Dambulla Cave Temple), exchange smiles while strolling a mellow village, marvel at birds and wildflowers here. Gilded with verdant tea plantations and rainforested peaks, this country houses Sigiriya, popular as eighth wonder of the world among the tourists and one of Asia's oldest landscaped gardens. Most long-haul Incentive travellers here prefer to avoid Colombo and experience sandy beaches snorkelling, Scuba diving and skiing and now the wild life, Whale Watching, Spiritual Development etc.
VISA/GOVT PERMISSION STRUCTURE: Short-stay visitors to Sri Lanka require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) Visa to enter the country. This visa option is for businesspeople, tourists and all visitors to Sri Lanka whose intention is to stay for less than 30 days.
REASON: Turkey's largest city Istanbul is one of the biggest event destinations in Europe. Positioned 18th by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Istanbul ranks eighth on the global leader board because it is a bridge between East and West, both in terms of trade and culture.
It being a natural bridge between Europe and the Middle East, bordered by the Black Sea and Marmara Sea, enjoys the advantage of having good access point globally. And Turkish Airlines is the fourth biggest airline in the world right now.
ACCOMODATION: The hub city for many cultures over the centuries Istanbul offers a variety of accommodation choices. From five-star deluxe residence hotels to boutique hotels with minimalist design, Istanbul offers a wide range of accommodation choices for everyone. Nearby the touristic attractions or just next to a gigantic Convention Center considering the millions of visitors Istanbul embraces each year, it is not dubious to say anyone can discover the hotel suitable for themselves in this city
CUISINE: To many, Turkish cuisine resembles the fairy-tale chimneys of Cappadocia and the comforting taste of hot bread dipped in fresh minty hydari. Salep is a hot drink with its main ingredient being flour made of wild orchids, milk and cinnamon or nutmeg for a hint of flavor and warmth. Dondurma or Turkish ice cream, made of milk, salep, sugar and Arabic gum. Pide- delicious and tastes just like pizza minus the tomato sauce base. Balik Ekmek, served at one of the many boats docked along Eminonu Harbor, in Istanbul, is a sandwich of grilled fish, lettuce and onions. Try out the Yogurt Corbasi or soup, bulgur pilaf, Baklava & Helva, Kunefe, Doner Kebap.
TEAM BUILDING/OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Antalya's theme park, The Land of Legends Theme Park, the most significant leisure and entertainment park in Turkey. The destination welcomed half million visitors in its first three months of operations. Antalya is also home to renowned annual film and piano festivals, as well as having a great venue for classical music, opera and ballet. A visit to Patara, Turkey's longest beach is exotic. Watery fun includes diving, windsurfing, rafting and canyoning in mountain gorges, kayaking over Kekova's sunken ruins and traditional gulet cruises on the Mediterranean and Aegean. Or take to the air with Oludeniz' thrilling paragliding flights or a hot-air balloon ride over Cappadocia. For a fresh angle on stunning Turkish scenery, trek to highland pastures or walk part of the Lycian Way trail. In town, take a culinary course, soak in the hamam or sign up for a culinary or cultural walking tour.
VISA/GOVT PERMISSION STRUCTURE: Visitors no longer enjoys the 'visa on arrival' facility. All Indian passport holders are required to have an electronic visa (e-visa) or a sticker visa issued by a Turkish diplomatic or consular mission abroad to be able to enter into Turkey.
REASON: Bali treasures achingly beautiful scenic beauty. Lonely Planet describes it as, "More than a place; it's a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind." Bali has exquisite flower-petal offerings placed everywhere, processions of joyfully garbed locals, otherworldly traditional music and dance performed island-wide.
ACCOMODATION: For a closer sense of connection to Balinese town life, Denpasar as Bali's provincial capital offers visitors one of the most local and non-touristy experiences. Accommodation options come as either new modern budget style city hotels that are fit for business travellers, or legendary hotels that carry historical significance and offer a sense of nostalgia, much like the characteristics of the classical hotels in Sanur. There is Denpasar which is centrally located, convenient for exploring the other resort areas of southern Bali. Best known for its beautiful and quiet sunset beaches, Seminyak is Bali's upmarket beach resort area, where luxury five-star resorts, secluded villas, world-class beach clubs and hip sunset venues line the coastline and main streets. Bali's most famous beach; Kuta was once a fishing village that turned into a surfing mecca. Today, in addition to the great surf, it is also one of the island's major nightlife areas, and offers something for all visitors. A favourite for budget travellers, there's countless restaurants, bars, a big mall, the largest waterpark in Southeast Asia, and a wide variety of hotels to suit any budget. Being close to the airport, only 10 minutes' drive north, adds to the convenience. Sandwiched right between Seminyak and Kuta, Legian offers a mix of these two famous beach resort areas. Jimbaran Bay is one of the most beautiful places to be for sunsets in Bali. Most of the hotels here are international chains and five-star resorts.
CUISINE: Basa Gede (or Bumbu Bali), Sayur Urab (Mixed Vegetables), Tuna Sambal Matah (Seared Tuna with Raw Sambal), empe Manis (Tempe in Sweet and Spicy Sauce), Opor Ayam (Chicken Curry) are the ones to try. Babi Guling is an authentic Balinese pork dish that will just melt in your mouth. Bebek Betutu, spice-rubbed duck slow-cooked in banana leaves is one more flavourful delicacy to savour. Beef Rendang is a popular dish where the pieces of meat are slow cooked in a mixture of coconut milk, spices, and roasted coconut paste and it just tastes yum. These are namely few, there are much more on the palate to try out.
TEAM BUILDING/OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Bali has beaches, surfing, diving, and resorts great and small, but it's the essence of Bali - and the Balinese - that makes it so much more than just a fun-in-the-sun retreat. Bali Safari and Marine Park is something not to miss. A wonderful cruise on the magnificent Bali coastline with a delicious dinner aboard the Bali Hai Cruise watching the colours of the sky change from blue to orange, would be an ideal itinerary in an event plannerâ€™s diary.
VISA/GOVT PERMISSION STRUCTURE: Free Visa (more than 140 countries (FREE entry, 30 days valid NOT extendable) Visa on Arrival (costs 35US$, 30 days valid, can be extended (once for 30 days) Social or cultural Visa (can stay 60 days, can be extended 3 times for 30 days each, issued by consulate or embassy outside Indonesia).
The famous Indian novelist, Anita Desai once said, "Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow."So true, whether you are on a vacation or business travel, moments plunge into your life from everywhere you land you feet. Corporate events today are no longer secluded in a close-door hotel room with hours boring sessions. The new trend has given a new breath of fresh air to the concept. They say you perform the best when you are at your happiest and why not percolate this happiness when you are involved in a job where you love what you do.