Not Dubai united: which foreign destinations are chosen by corporations for field events

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The expert named the pros and cons of the most popular countries for business travelers.

Не Дубаем единым: какие зарубежные направления выбирают корпорации для выездных мероприятий

What trends characterize the Russian business tourism market, how the geography of corporate events is changing and to which foreign countries corporations prefer to export their employees today for professional development and recreation, Profi told.Travel Dmitry Lapatin, one of the leaders of the MICE industry in Russia, founder of MICE-Connection, travel expert, businessman and coach.

Modern MICE: market growth, new segments and staff hunger

Не Дубаем единым: какие зарубежные направления выбирают корпорации для выездных мероприятий

Back in 2022, the Russian business tourism market almost reached the pre-2019 level and continues to grow. According to a MICEbackstage community study, in 2023, the annual revenue growth of agencies working in this field amounted to 49%.

According to my observations, over the past year the total number of events has increased at least twice, and possibly three times. New players have appeared on the market, both among MICE agencies and among corporations that act as customers of services. Most of the requests for business tourism today come from government agencies, as well as large companies from IT, medicine and pharma, insurance, financial and banking sectors.

Among the main trends of the last year is the emergence of a new segment in MICE related to the design of travel emotions. Such events assume that the participants of the trip will not just participate in the conference, team building and change the picture. Here we are talking about more — about creating projects that are able to give such emotions that a person has never experienced before. This is a story about a wow effect that can take employees – and therefore the company — to a fundamentally new level.

Related to the development of this segment is the fact that less obvious and MICE—specific locations are increasingly being chosen for events – this expands the geography and creates new requirements for both the work of organizing agencies and the host party.

However, this rather rapid growth and development of the MICE industry in Russia also has a downside — a shortage of personnel. There are not many specialists who really understand the specifics of working in this segment of tourism. And those who do, because of the abundance of projects, often face professional burnout.

Geography lessons: Domestic tourism VS outbound

Another key trend in the Russian MICE industry over the past two years has been the huge number of projects conducted in Russia. Importantly, business tourism has begun to actively expand beyond Moscow, St. Petersburg and Krasnodar Territory and opened new cities and regions. Among them are Baikal, Altai, Kamchatka, Karelia, Tyumen, Murmansk.

The number of foreign projects has also grown significantly over the past year.

The undisputed leaders today are Turkey (Istanbul, Antalya coast, Bodrum, Cappadocia), the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Ras al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi), Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Thailand.

The demand for the CIS countries — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, as well as for field events in Georgia.

Also, over the past year, the Maldives, South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Singapore, and China have returned to the sphere of attention of the Russian MICE — there was demand for these destinations in the pre-crisis period, then due to strict and long-term restrictions it disappeared, and now it is gradually resuming.

As for prices, the range in business tourism today is quite large – from the middle segment to luxury, and it depends not only (and sometimes not so much) on the country, but also on the customer’s requests. It is important to understand that MICE is basically not a story about last—minute tours and three-star hotels. Even if the company’s choice falls on the CIS countries, this does not mean that it will be cheap. Russian corporations are used to the highest level of organization and service, and it costs money.

Top 5 foreign destinations for business tourism in 2024

It is quite difficult to name the exact percentage of each country in the total market, since the choice of destinations — both domestic and foreign — is really large. However, my personal statistics on requests and projects, as well as feedback from other major industry players, allow us to form the following ranking of countries that Russian corporations most often choose for their events in 2024.


Today, this is perhaps the main choice for large corporations. Colorful oriental exoticism, the crossroads of cultures and civilizations, thousand-year-old cities, each of which can be called an open-air museum, ancient mosques, minarets and madrasas, an abundance of colorful mosaics. But this portal to the past organically combines with modern comfort and service.


  • Convenient flight statistics — many flights from different airlines. From Moscow, in 3-4 hours you can fly not only to the capital Tashkent, but also to the main tourist centers of Uzbekistan — Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva. There are direct flights to the country from other Russian cities
  • A wide selection of decent hotels.
  • High level of service from the host companies.
  • Outstanding local cuisine, which is not limited to pilaf (by the way, included in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List).

Cons and pitfalls

  • There are a lot of tourists. This can create some discomfort, for example, when visiting and sightseeing. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a balance in the program — so that the participants of the trip feel a team community, and not lost in the crowd.
  • It’s not cheap.
  • It is important to be careful in your diet: many dishes of local cuisine are quite fatty and, unaccustomed, can provoke gastrointestinal disorders.


Another MICE is a leader among the CIS countries. Authentic Yerevan, picturesque mountain routes, ancient architecture, legendary local cuisine and famous Caucasian hospitality.


  • Essentially the same as in Uzbekistan. Very simple logistics, many direct flights, good hotels, excellent cuisine and service, local memorable flavor, contact with which gives a new emotional experience.

Cons and pitfalls

  • The main attractions of Armenia — Lake Sevan, waterfalls, ancient fortresses and ancient Christian monasteries — are located outside of Yerevan, so you will have to put extra hours on the transfer in the timing of the trip.
  • Hospitality is hospitality, but if you want to organize a really high—quality trip for the team without overlaps and unpleasant surprises, you need to work only with proven DMCs.


The kingdom has become an alluring location after the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Yes, there is something to work on in terms of MICE tourism, but local companies understand this and are developing in the right direction.


  • A huge selection of hotels.
  • The most convenient airport is Hamad, which has been repeatedly recognized as the best airport in the world.
  • The most beautiful capital of Doha is with skyscrapers, innovative museums, a colorful oriental market and an ethnographic village of Qatar.

Cons and pitfalls

  • There are problems with the service of the host companies, you need to be very careful when choosing contractors.
  • Limited choice of entertainment.
  • Strict rules regarding alcohol — you can only buy it on the territory of hotels in bars with a license, you can not even import alcohol bought in duty free.
  • Expensive.


An Arab country that has made an incredible leap in development over the past few decades. It is now actively opening for tourists, including for corporate trips. Oman is called the “true East” — its distinctive architectural traditions have been preserved and there are almost no high-rise buildings except for some hotels and shopping malls. Here you can wander through the labyrinths of authentic streets, admire unspoilt nature and relax on snow-white sandy beaches.


  • Wonderful hotels with huge conference facilities.
  • Perfect beaches.
  • Impeccable service.

Cons and pitfalls

  • Limited entertainment options — few attractions and options for corporate activities.
  • You only need to work with professional and trusted DMCs.


No matter how many new foreign destinations MICE develops, Turkey still gets into the ratings — it was, is and, I think, will remain a leader for corporations. This is a country where everything is geared towards tourism, including business. Therefore, it would be strange to give up ideal opportunities.


  • Aviation statistics: the country is a real transport hub, with a huge number of flights from different cities, including charter ones.
  • It meets all (!) MICE requirements: the quality of hotels, an abundance of transport companies, excellent conference facilities, an all-inclusive system, a huge amount of entertainment.

Cons and pitfalls

  • Many corporations have already held events in Turkey more than once, and going to the same place several times is no longer a story about the wow effect. However, Turkey is not limited to Istanbul and Antalya, the country is quite large and you can choose alternative locations. For example, the unique Cappadocia with a cave city and balloons, or the picturesque Bodrum, which is called the Turkish Saint Tropez.
  • Again, work only with professional DMCs: there are many offers, so you need to choose especially carefully.

Despite the geopolitical difficulties and rising prices, Russian companies still have quite a lot of opportunities for foreign business tourism. But the final choice of location should, first of all, be based on the main purpose of the trip and the preferences of the participants — that’s when the MICE project will give the corporation the expected effect.




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