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Monday, July 30, 2018

What Destinations Are Popular?

Words by Aishwarya Tyagi
Photos courtesy of Julieta

The wedding industry is indeed an inflation proof business; and the growing interest in bespoke celebrations has boosted the market. From Puerto Rico to Turkey, top-notch wedding planners and sponsors who are attendees of the 5th Annual Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress; have one thing in common—an uptick in the destination wedding business over the last two years.

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However, the growth in the destination wedding market has not been restricted to a specific type of destination or function. It is across the industry, as observed by Debra O’Brien, Director of Group Sales, Key Accounts, Belmond, USA who said, “In the last few years, we noted an increase in requests for destination weddings across our entire portfolio of travel experiences, from our beach resorts in Mexico to our 15th-century architectural beauties in Italy.”  

So why are destination weddings so popular?

  •  It's an excuse to adventure with guests. “Demand for destination weddings is growing so fast; most couples love to have their wedding in a romantic setting that they or their relatives have not been to, or a place that is dear to them but is not home,” commented Dinesh and Ruwanthie Wanigarathna Co-Founders, DR Creations Photography, identifying common motivations couples espouse when planning a destination wedding. 
  •  Culture and cuisine are important factors for destination weddings too. Either couples search for familiar options, or explore foreign destinations with deep cultural roots and culinary heritage – vastly different from their own. “Rich in culture and culinary offerings, and paired with pristine beaches and natural beauty, the Island of Puerto Rico is increasingly attracting more couples, especially those from the USA. Yes, there was a lull after Hurricane Maria, but business is picking up again,” commented Iris Ortiz, Destination Weddings Manager, Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, Puerto Rico.
What destinations are becoming more popular?
  • Smaller, lesser known areas are getting attention. Agreeing to the general sentiment of an increase in demand, Anna Sourbati, Owner, The Event Company, Greece, said, “In the last two years, there has been a big increase in destination wedding bookings across the country in Greece. Couples have begun exploring other smaller islands, and unexplored parts of Greece rather than sticking to popular destinations such as Santorini and Mykonos.”
  • Exclusive and unique destinations are always a good choice. While the search for the perfect area propels lesser-known destinations into the limelight, time-honoured destinations like Seychelles, dubbed the ‘Island of Love’, are still an attraction for many couples, “Continuing to host weddings almost on a daily basis from clients across the world, the archipelago’s destination weddings market is growing steadily annually,” stated David Germain, Regional Director, Africa and the Americas, Seychelles Tourism Board.

About the DWP Congress: Organized by Dubai-based QnA International, the DWP Congress is a one-of-a-kind, exclusive gathering that hosts the crème de la crème of the global destination wedding industry. From planners, to suppliers, the by-invite only list is carefully curated to reflect the most prestigious names from the most sought-after destinations in the world, discussing industry trends, challenges, and its future. Additionally, the Congress is held annually at a prime destination wedding location, backed by the host countrys’ tourism boards. Having had hugely successful previous editions in Florence, Phuket, and Athens, the 5th DWP Congress will be hosted at Los Cabos in Mexico in April 2018.

Speaking on the importance of the Congress to their business, Ozlem Gunesi, Assistant Director of Events, Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, said, “There are many well-known speakers and wedding planners from across the world that attend DWP Congress. Moreover, the Congress does not focus on only one destination, and the change of destination each year increases the chances of meeting different and top wedding planners and representatives from prestigious hospitality and travel brands. It is a must attend event for those in the business.”

In addition to providing attendees with one-on-one networking opportunities and pre-scheduled appointments for business and relationship development, the Congress also affords a degree of publicity, as Susana Mendia, Banqueting Manager, Hotel Maria Christina, Spain, put it, “The DWP Congress is a great platform for us to announce our destination internationally.”

Indeed, the DWP Congress has something for everyone in the industry!

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