Passport - (Page P4)

Destination Diary Europe By Irene Korn From castles and cathedrals to high-speed transportation and high-tech communications, Europe draws American groups with multicultural, multi-lingual, and multi-faceted cites. While the draw of European destinations remains perpetually strong, their value has suddenly increased—putting European destinations back on the map for American groups. Of course there are the big cities, too. As the European headquarters of the United Nations, home of 200 international governmental and independent organizations, and the birthplace of the International Red Cross, Geneva is a natural for an international meeting with its French flair that complements Swiss precision. Prefer a German flavor instead? Then Zurich is the place, the centrally located cultural and economic heartbeat of the country and home of Switzerland’s largest multifunction event hall. Iberian Ideals Another country that planners are finding especially cost-effective these days is Portugal. As the only capital city in Europe with sandy beaches just minutes away from cobblestone city center, Lisbon provides a multi-level experience for groups. In addition to multiple high-level Switzerland hotels, groups have a choice of several dedicated convention facilities, including the Lisbon Congress Center, which features eight auditoriums, five halls, and 25 meeting rooms. Switzerland’s appeal as an international meetings destination was For an out-of-the-ordinary experience, several medieval convents are confirmed this winter when 475 attendees from 79 countries met in available for functions, such as the Convento do Beato, a 15th-century Montreux for the International Conference of the Society of Incentive convent that can accommodate events for 250 to 1,500 in the cloisters, & Travel Executives, now known as Site. Surrounded by Lake Geneva, the former refectory, upstairs library, or patio. As a day excursion or destinaAlps, and vineyards, the Belle Epoque city is ideally located for daytrips, tion in its own right, nearby Estoril is a cosmopolitan resort with a such as a visit to Chillon Castle (immortalized in Lord Byron’s poem Victorian-era charm, as well as the Casino Estoril for receptions or “On the Castle of Chillon”) or a cheese and wine tasting in Gruyeres. free-time activities. And Switzerland is a surprising value proposition. “Many of us Ideally positioned on the sea, Portugal was a maritime force in the remember way back when Switzerland was expensive, but that’s not the 15th century, its “Golden Age of Discoveries.” Under the leadership case anymore,” says Philippa Durrant, managing director of The DMC of King Henry the Navigator, sailors set out from Lisbon’s Belém, and one Group, a New York-based company that represents DMCs in Europe and of their first discoveries was the Madeira archipelago, an uninhabited around the world. “Not only does the dollar go far, but it’s a beautiful cluster of islands off the coast of Africa. The islands became Portuguese destination in the heart of Europe.” possessions and were populated by the families of Portuguese navigaJust 45 minutes away from Monand overlooking Lake Geneva, tors. Now considered an autonomous region of Portugal, Madeira’s Lausanne is home of the International Olympic Committee. After an Funchal boasts top-notch beach resorts suitable for high-level meetings afternoon in the pedestrian-friendly Old Town or a lake excursion, honor and incentives, such as the Pestana Casino Park perched on a dramatic attendees with an awards reception at the Olympic Museum. 4 Successful Meetings/MeetingNews/Incentive / MARCH 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Passport

Destination Diary Europe
Americas and the Caribbean
Charting Their Course
Show Me the Money