Buyers experience Canada’s allure at Incentive Canada 2022

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Incentive Canada 2022 An evening on a tall ship in Halifax Harbour Photo Credit: Destination Canada

International buyers met with Canadian meeting and incentive suppliers in the eastern province of Nova Scotia between 10-13 July 2022.

The Incentive Canada 2022 summer programme, organised by Destination Canada, facilitated tours of The Maritimes to all attendees and provided a platform for one-to-one meetings between international buyers and Canadian suppliers.

Beginning in the harbour city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the group checked into The Westin Nova Scotia with 130 bedrooms and The Atlantic ballroom for up to 275 dinner guests. The opening night ensued with a short walk to the dockside to board a traditional tall ship for a Kitchen Party sunset cruise along the harbour. The cruise provided an alternative view of the historic city, one of the vibrant boardwalks, alfresco dining, and live music for as far as the ear can hear. Groups can incorporate the tall ship experiences into a programme for drinks receptions and BBQ-style dinners. 

The following day, the Incentive Canada 2022 programme continued with a two-hour drive north of Halifax to the Fox Harbr’ resort, but not before stopping off at the Bay of Funday to witness a tidal phenomenon. Perched on the riverbank at Truro, an hour outside of Halifax, twice a day spectators can see a fast-moving wave, which can get up to four meters high, quickly fill up the river creating whitewater to gush over the riverbed. This natural wonder can be used for rafting, paddling boarding and even surfing. When the tide is fully out, groups can dine on the riverbed – tide time permitting, of course. 

While on the coach transfer between hotels, guests were treated to a history lesson by a local tour guide, something Dara Pierce, vice president meetings and incentives at Meeting Innovations thought was an unforgettable extra touch. "Gerard, the tour guide, did such a great job of taking what could of have been a long, boring and non-personal transfer and making it an interesting and humorous experience, which connected me deeper to the event and the region. I am a true believer that when people know more, they feel connected and when they connect, they return."

Once checked into Fox Harbr’ resort, located in Wallace on the Northumberland Shore of Nova Scotia, guest were treated to a tour of the extensive property. The resort was founded by Tim Horton’s restaurant chain co-founder, Ron Joyce, who was a keen golfer, hence the pristine 18-hole par-72 golf course on site. But there is plenty to keep the non-golfers among the group entertained, including a spa, a marina with a private yacht, a hunting lodge, clay shooting, archery, kayaking, cycling and helicopter experiences. Fox Harbr’ Resort also boasts a private runway for the VIP groups.  

A keen focus on wellness was evident throughout the programme with sunrise yoga sessions, sunrise painting classes and sunrise cycle rides organised on the resort, all of which tie into Canada's signature incentive themes: adventure, taste, culture, heritage and wellness. 

Jennifer Attersall, director of incentive travel, business events, destination Canada, said: "The Incentive Canada summer program is our opportunity to not only showcase how Canadian destinations are leveraging data and insights to personalise and tailor match individual guests with their ideal incentive preferences but show the transformative power of incentive experiences in Nova Scotia." 

Fox Harbr' Resort recently added the Joyce Centre, a conference centre with 1,200sqm of meetings space, including a wide terrace overlooking the Northumberland Strait, a ballroom, two breakout rooms, a hospitality hub and two reception areas.  

The Lighthouse Terrance down by the shore, offers informal picnic tables for alfresco dining with undisturbed ocean views and orange-hued sunsets. 

Padraic GilliganPadraic Gilligan Photo Credit: Destination Canada

Incentive Canada 2022 attendees were also treated to a keynote session from Padraic Gilligan, managing partner at SoolNua and SITE’s chief marketing officer. Gilligan offered insight into incentive trends, the rise of second-tier destinations and the importance of building in free time to programmes. 

While Incentive Canada 2022 was held in Nova Scotia this year, suppliers from all over Canada, including DMCs, hotels, resorts and destination representatives joined the programme. Buyers and suppliers met in one-to-one meetings across two days to better understand what Canada can offer groups – almost everything it seems. 

Members of the group continued onwards to Prince Edward Island for a post-fam trip on Wednesday 13 July. The island is located a two-hour boat trip north of the Nova Scotian peninsula and is also connected via the Confederation Bridge – the world's largest bridge over icy waters. 

Supplier Michael Olson, business and partnership specialist for Northwest Territories Tourism said the Incentive Canada 2022 programme was a fantastic way to meet and talk with meeting and incentive travel professionals from around the world. He added: "I made some very good contacts both with the travel professionals that were invited to the event, but also with the travel partners that participated in the event, it was great to be able to help spread the word about the NWT, and hopefully I convinced a few of the participants to bring an incentive group, meeting, FIT customers, to come and enjoy some ‘North of 60’ Canadian Hospitality at the top of the world.

"As one of Destination Canada’s premier events, Incentive Canada, was well worth the investment of our time to be involved in such a positive and professionally run event that helped garner great exposure for the NWT."

Destination Canada runs twice-yearly B2B incentive programmes, in the summer and winter, rotating host destinations to show-off Canada. 

Holly Patrick
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Holly Patrick
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A desire to travel led Holly Patrick to the business meetings and events world and she’s never looked back. Holly takes a particular interest in event sustainability and creating a diverse and inclusive industry. When she’s not working, she can be found rolling skating along Brighton seafront listening to an eclectic playlist, featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Sean Paul, and Arooj Aftab.

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