Top Incentive Travel Destinations for 2023

Groups are heading to these appealing places in the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and the United States.

Lively Krakow is a wonderful introduction to Eastern Europe. Photo Credit: By velishchuk for Adobe Stock

With most travel restrictions of the past three years behind us, incentive participants are eager to discover new places, immerse themselves in different cultures and enjoy authentic experiences. Following are the top incentive destinations trending in 2023, according to ITA Group, which creates custom-crafted engagement solutions that motivate employees, channel partners and customers anywhere in the world. These appealing spots — in the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe —  are most popular with incentive groups now, according to the latest Northstar/Cvent Incentive Pulse Survey.

More details on the hotels listed here and other incentive properties in the destinations can be found at Northstar’s Event Venue Finder.

Krakow and Gdansk, Poland

Historic landmarks and architecture are abundant in Krakow (above) and Gdansk. By combining a lively stop in Krakow with a slower-paced visit to Gdansk, a trip to Poland holds a nice balance for groups looking to experience eastern Europe to its fullest. Past visitors have compared Gdansk to Amsterdam with its charming Old Town and colorful buildings.

Incentive Pro Tips: Poland is a good choice for groups that have traveled throughout Europe and are looking for the next hot destination. It’s ideal for programs of up to 100 participants.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Explore Krakow’s centuries-old architecture that survived bombing raids in World War II.
  • Visit the largest medieval market square in Europe in Gdansk.
  • Climb to the top of Gdansk’s Town Hall Tower to get a bird’s-eye view of the city’s historic landscape.

Accommodations: The 126-room Sofitel Grand Sopot is a stunning five-star hotel located on the Baltic coastline. The 117-room Hotel Saski Krakow is situated just a block from the Old Town’s main plaza. 


Photo Credit: Michael J. Shapiro

Punta de Mita, Mexico

This perfect setting for incentives offers a mix of relaxing and active experiences on a stretch of gorgeous coastline north of Puerto Vallarta, where the Bay of Banderas meets the Pacific Ocean. Originally dotted with fishing villages, Punta de Mita has evolved into one of Mexico’s most exclusive destinations.

Incentive Pro Tips: Mid-size groups full of sun and fun seekers will revel in this experience; the best time for programs is in the first half of the year.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Enjoy water activities, including surfing and spear-fishing, from more than a dozen surfing beaches.
  • Go humpback whale–watching, including calving, typically between December and March.
  • Host events featuring tacos, craft beer, artisan handcrafts and more in nearby Sayulita, a popular beach town with a hippy-chic bohemian vibe that is known for its steep cobblestone streets, roaming chickens, art galleries and artisan stands.
  • Just relax on the stunningly beautiful Pacific beaches.

Accommodations: Conrad Punta de Mita is a lavish 324-room beachfront refuge in the Litibu development. 

Photo Credit: pridannikov for Adobe Stock

Lustica Bay, Montenegro 

A rich history, the pristine Adriatic waters and an “undiscovered Europe” feel are among the appealing aspects of this destination. Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Montenegro has emerged in recent years as a popular cruise port, with its stunning coastal landscapes, medieval villages and glacial lakes.

Incentive Pro Tips: A trip to Montenegro is ideal for groups of up to 200 attendees who have visited Europe multiple times. The best time to visit is late spring to early fall.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Set up culinary tours or classes where groups can learn to make local dishes, including burek pastry.
  • Arrange kayaking, boating and relaxing on pristine Lustica Bay.
  • Take day trips to explore nearby Kotor, with its historic fort, charming Old Town and gorgeous views of the Adriatic Sea.

Accommodations: The charming 111-room Chedi Lustica Bay offers a chic, beachy atmosphere. 

Photo Credit: Leonid Andronov for Adobe Stock

London and Hertfordshire, England

A trip to the United Kingdom holds tremendous appeal for groups looking to ease back into European travel. Winners will enjoy the idyllic English countryside in Hertfordshire and the energy of London with this dual-destination program.

Incentive Pro Tips: Mid- to large-size incentive groups, and family incentive groups, will enjoy this trip across the pond. This destination pairing appeals to a range of attendee interests — especially for those who want to visit both a city and the countryside.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Arrange tours of  London’s royal palaces and sites during this historic year of King Charles III’s coronation.
  • Enjoy gourmet dining at one of London’s numerous Michelin-starred restaurants.
  • In Hertfordshire, outdoor activities include clay-pigeon shooting, archery, axe-throwing and horseback riding.

Accommodations: The Grove, the former home of the Earls of Clarendon, offers 189 guest rooms on its 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside. Among the British capital’s luxurious properties is the 308-room Rosewood London, near Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House.  

Photo Credit: seqoya for Adobe Stock

Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey

Few destinations offer more cultural diversity than Turkey. Whether it’s a stroll through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar or soaking the sun on Bodrum’s beaches, a trip here provides participants with an exciting East-West adventure.  

Incentive Pro Tips: The country is an exciting destination for seasoned travelers who enjoy navigating big cities and immersing themselves in a new culture. Turkey is best experienced during spring and fall, when temperatures are milder, and tourism is slower.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Visit hammams, or traditional Turkish baths, a common practice in both traditional and modern culture that leaves participants' skin baby-soft.
  • Stroll through Istanbul's gargantuan Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.
  • Tour Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque in the amazing historical quarter of the city.
  • Kiteboard and relax on the powdery beach in Bodrum.   

Accommodations: Two properties to try are 170-room Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul on the picturesque shores of the Bosporus Strait and the 137-room Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, a luxurious beachfront resort.  

Photo Credit: Belikova Oksana for Adobe Stock

Cape Cod, Mass.

Coastal charm and authentic seaside experiences make this a quintessential New England incentive destination, where lighthouses, lobster rolls and sandy beaches await.

Incentive Pro Tip: Cape Cod is perfect for smaller groups that enjoy a relaxed, leisurely pace. Summer is the ideal time for incentive programs. 

Incentive Experiences:

  • Experience a day in the life of a local lobster or oyster fisherman, and follow it up with a stop at a local seafood shack.
  • Join scientists on a great white shark research excursion, where you can observe their research and protection efforts firsthand.
  • Take a day trip to Hyannis to explore the Kennedy Museum, where John F. Kennedy’s legacy comes to life.

Accommodations: The 217-room seaside Chatham Bars Inn is stroll away from historic downtown Chatham in the center of the Cape. 

Photo Credit: Margaret for Adobe Stock

Asheville, N.C.

Live music, craft beer and the stunning backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains create the magic of Asheville.

Incentive Pro Tips: This western city in North Carolina is a great match for mid-size groups looking for adventure and nights out on the town. The ideal time for groups to visit is during the summer, when participants can hike the nearby mountain trails in ideal weather conditions, or in the fall, when the colorful foliage sets the hills on fire. 

Incentive Experiences:

  • Head out on a foraging outing, where attendees learn how to identify, gather and preserve wild mushrooms. 
  • Take a guided tour of the city’s Art Deco and neoclassical architecture.
  • Arrange drives and hikes for taking in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Accommodations: The Omni Grove Park Inn, with 514 guest rooms, is a countryside estate tucked into the mountainside.  

Photo Credit: Andy for Adobe Stock

Napa Valley, Calif.

This region is most famous for its 400 wineries, but also offers a peaceful Northern California countryside experience for groups. Following the devastating fires of 2020, Napa is making a strong comeback as a top incentive destination.

Incentive Pro Tip: Napa is best for late spring to mid-fall excursions for small, high-end incentive groups.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Ride the Napa Valley Wine Train, a luxury three-hour journey that highlights the beauty of the valley.
  • Hop on hot-air balloon rides over wine country.
  • Enjoy wine tastings in the valley’s wineries.
  • Take small-group bike rides through the picturesque countryside.

Accommodations: The elegant, 85-room Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley adds another layer to a visit to this region, as it is part of an active winery.  

Photo Credit: SeanPavonePhoto for Adobe Stock

Santa Fe, N.M.

The arts and outdoors converge in this UNESCO-designated City of Craft and Folk Art. Santa Fe is rich with old-world architecture, stunning desert landscapes, and visible influences from surrounding Native American, Latin American and western cultures.

Incentive Pro Tips: Small incentive groups who like to go off the beaten path will appreciate Santa Fe’s mix of history and culture. The destination is best experienced late spring to early fall.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Take equine roping lessons with local guides.
  • Fly-fish for wild trout or hike the Rio Grande with a llama.
  • Arrange a guided tour of Pueblo art.
  • Art and ceramics class in local galleries

Accommodations: The 123-room Bishop’s Lodge is nestled in Santa Fe’s National Forest, and just a 10-minute drive from downtown. 

Photo Credit: elvirkin for Adobe Stock

St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

St. Thomas is the perfect location for beautiful views and a new take on a tropical destination. The U.S. Virgin Islands are always a favorite Caribbean destination, thanks in part to these ease of travel for U.S. citizens (no passports required!).

Incentive Pro Tip: St. Thomas is a great choice for mid-size groups pretty much any time of year.

Incentive Experiences:

  • Island-hop via ferry to the national park on St. John, or to the British Virgin Islands.
  • Visit during Carnival, which takes place from late April to early May; custom versions of these colorful celebrations can be recreated for groups any time of year.
  • Go diving or snorkeling among numerous coral reefs in the clear, blue Caribbean waters.

Accommodations: The 392-room Westin Beach Resort at Frenchman’s Reef will reopen this spring following a $425 million transformation.

Mandy Espey is the lead buyer for ITA Group.