The events and incentives market is booming with new air routes providing new destinations for New Zealand corporate events overseas.

Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (Mice) specialists cievents says the type of overseas events is also changing, with companies opting for more ''immersive" local experiences rather than a few hours of team building.

cievents general manager Jenny Walsh said the industry had moved a long way from just the Gold Coast and Fiji.

''There's a real shift to more immersive experiences away from the fly, flop and drop.


"Clients are trying to give attendees a once in a lifetime experience and really immerse them in that destination and the culture."

They were also looking at more off-site options — such as interesting meal venues — rather than getting stuck at hotels for conferences and reward and recognition trips, she said.

New Air New Zealand routes to Argentina and Vietnam in the past two years had an immediate affect on Mice activity.

Walsh said Vietnam is among the hottest destinations with city and beach options and Buenos Aires had also been popular. Event guests were taking tango lessons and visiting gaucho ranches as part of their programmes.

''Team building is shifting from a two- to three-hour activity," said Walsh.

Japan was also increasingly popular and although more expensive on the ground than other Asian destinations, it was attracting interest from companies interested in Rugby World Cup-related activities.

Walsh has just returned from Britain where she also headed cievents, part of the Flight Centre group.

She said the industry changed after the global financial crisis.

''It never completely stopped but obviously value for money and budget became key. They [companies] didn't completely cull them but there was a lot of value messaging."

More development of the Mice sector in this country and better conference venues wouldn't deter companies from rewarding staff with overseas events.

''I do think it will shift but the incentive events held offshore will not change — the local conferences will stay onshore but for those reward and recognition programmes they still need to give them an experience."

She said the outlook for next year was strong with also Hawaii popular — helped by intense airline competition pushing down fares — and mainland United States destinations such as Los Angeles.