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 taking place from the 10th - 12th of April 2018, in Los Cabos, Mexico; have one thing in common—an uptick in the destination wedding business over the last two years.
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.”
Top 5 Reasons for the Popularity of Destination Weddings:
- Going to a previously unchartered destination or location.
- Ease of accessing the city and flight distance
- Varied culture and cuisine
- Unexplored islands
- Time-honoured destinations
Photo credit: Julieta Photography
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. “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. Some other considerations include activities for guests. For Instance, Turkey’s location as a bridge between Asia and Europe both physically and culturally give it a unique advantage, as “The combination of modernism and history found in the country along with many other alternative activities for guests at the wedding, the ease of accessing the city and flight distance are factors in the tremendous increase in destination weddings in the country,” explained Ülkü Bora Karadağlılar, Director of Sales, Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul.
Agreeing to the general sentiment of an increase in demand, Anna Sourbati, Owner, The Event Company, Greece, said, “In the last 2 years, there has been a big increase in destinaton 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.” While the search for more exclusive and unique destinations 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.
Photo credit: Julieta Photography
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. The 5th annual DWP Congress will be held from 10-12 April 2018, at Los Cabos, Mexico.