Photo: GDP

Global DMC Partners (GDP), the largest global network of independent destination management companies (DMCs) and specialized event service providers, recently concluded its 10th annual Connection in Punta de Mita, Mexico, June 6-9. Co-hosted by local DMC partner Tropical Incentives and host hotel Conrad Punta de Mita, this year’s event held up to its decade-long standing as the premier education and networking conference for meetings and events professionals. Nearly 200 attendees travelled from every corner of the globe to learn key insights and trends, share best practices and foster new and existing relationships through in-person networking, one-on-one business appointments, peer-to-peer breakout sessions and engaging off-site activities.

Punta de Mita was the perfect choice for our milestone 10th Connection,” said Global DMC Partners President and CEO Catherine Chaulet. “Our DMC partner Tropical Incentives and host hotel Conrad Punta de Mita truly rolled out the red carpet for our attendees. We were blown away by Mexico’s authentically warm hospitality as well as the abundance of cultural, philanthropic, wellness and adventure offerings that this vibrant destination has to offer.

Kicking off the program’s general session, Chaulet’s keynote address, “Decoding 2024 Global Business and Travel Trends,” provided a comprehensive analysis on the state of the industry with invaluable insights for business leaders and meeting planners navigating today’s ever-evolving economic landscape. These served as thought-provoking conversation starters for the learning hubs, breakout sessions and other discussions which took place throughout the conference.

Photo: GDP

Highlights of these key takeaways included:

Economic resilience and inflation trends: Despite global uncertainties, economic growth remains steady with inflation returning to target rates. Various global markets show resilience, though the meetings and events sector faces higher inflation rates.

Impact on meetings and events: Rising costs in the events industry are notable, with a 30 % increase in pricing for essentials. Budgets are increasing primarily to offset these costs. Event planners face challenges with higher costs, budget management, venue availability, and timely approvals.

Creative solutions and trends: Creativity is a challenge with tight budgets. There’s a commitment to sustainability, simpler meetings, and expanding collaborations with vendors. Creative solutions in decor, food, audio-visuals, and AI are becoming more common.

Trends: Sustainability remains a focus, despite challenges in systematic incorporation. Wellness initiatives and inclusive programming are gaining popularity. AI applications are growing rapidly, enhancing event operations. Geopolitical factors influence destination choices, favoring budget-friendly locations.

Photo: GDP

In addition to the professional development sessions, Connection provided face-to-face time and networking opportunities through pre-scheduled business appointments as well as a wide variety of local activities, including the opportunity to give back to the community by painting a local school, Telesecundaria. Attendees collectively brought a wide array of school supplies and learning materials to the conference and the items were donated to three local organizations, Telesecundaria, the non-profit Entre Amigos, and an elementary school with many needs.

Before departing on the closing day, the GDP corporate team recognized its top partners and clients in a brief awards ceremony. These recipients included:

  • U.S. Partner of the Year – Destination Fabulous Las Vegas
  • International Partner of the Year – CTI Italy
  • 2024 Stellar Performer – Fatih Donmez, Universal Travel Services Turkey
  • Global Planners of the Year – Jerry Longo of Abbott and Hanna Payne of Gartner UK

The team also then revealed the much-anticipated location for next year’s Connection in June 2025: Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, co-hosted by Sunbound, GDP’s DMC partner in The Bahamas.

For more information visit or register at for a webinar if you’re interested in learning more about the trends and insights discussed at this year’s Connection.

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