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Industry mustn't be cowed by terrorism, says former SITE president

Paul Miller cautions against reactions 'based on fear' as he steps down from Society for Incentive Travel Excellence role

Pictured: Paul Miller

Paul Miller has warned that the incentive travel industry must not give in to fear after a tumultuous six months at the end of his stint as the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence's (SITE) president.

Miller, MD of London-based destination management company Spectra, oversaw many changes during his year leading the association, including its rebrand from the Society of Incentive Travel Executives to the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence.  

And he said its members in 84 countries were well placed to offer realistic advice to corporates on developing situations or threats, instead of allowing them to "shrink our world".

"The beginning of 2014 was full of positive growth, incentive programmes were back and companies were travelling to new and exciting destinations," he said. "Fast-forward six months and climate, medical and terrorist threats have affected where we are travelling and what destinations we are looking at for future programmes.

"As an organisation, SITE needs to address these crises and support our members. Keeping in touch with SITE members on the ground can advise us on the real situation. We cannot let the global media sensationalise the crisis and allow these situations to shrink our world. 

"Companies are doing their due diligence in order to assess the risk to their qualifiers. We need to ensure that these companies have all the facts and are not just reacting based on fear. We also need to ask the programme participants their views; don’t assume their reaction."

Miller described 2014 as the association's 'call to action' year which saw it increase its global membership to 2,000 members and implement the first year of its strategic plan.  

"We successfully rebranded our association, changing our name, logo and taglines to reinforce SITE’s position on the world stage as the voice supporting the use of incentive travel as a vital business tool," he said. "We strengthened relationships with our strategic partners, added new partners and introduced a new sponsorship prospectus."

Under Miller's leadership the association also developed a new incentive travel education curriculum with the help and financial support of the SITE Foundation.  

Now immediate past president and a member of the SITE international board of directors supporting new president Rhonda Brewer, Miller predicted the future would see international events expanding even further.

"Incentive programmes are becoming more globalised with companies incorporating their global organisations into one joint incentive, bringing together different nationalities and cultures. Planners and suppliers are needing to adjust programme design to accommodate the diversity," added Miller. 

"As global meetings continue to grow in size and scope, deeper in-region knowledge is a necessity to make sure that incentive trips go off without a hitch. This knowledge is also essential when it comes to both risk mitigation and the need to provide more unique, memorable experiences year in and year out."

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