inSITEs from SITE Member of the Year Victor Canizares

SITE Member of the Year Victor Canizares Celebrated at this year's Global Conference

Earning top honors — the top honor, in fact, that SITE presents to a member each year — is Victor Canizares, the CEO of Spanish Heritage DMC.

We caught up with Victor to discover what's trending in his destination, as well as what's ahead for SITE's newly combined Spain & Portugal chapter, all off the back of a busy IMEX Frankfurt show.

Q: What sparked your interest in getting involved with SITE originally? Who or what inspired you to become a SITE member? 

A: I was introduced to the world of SITE thanks to Katrin Naumann, a good friend who told me about the association and introduced me to it at the time.

Little by little I became integrated into the Spain Chapter and participated in events organized by them. I decided to join the Board of Directors of SITE Spain, which was an enriching experience working side by side with colleagues in the industry.

I then finally had the honor of being the Chapter President during a difficult time. My position began during the pandemic and, together with a magnificent group of professionals, we managed first of all to keep the chapter afloat, renew it, and establish a line of succession with medium/long-term objectives.

This led to the expansion of our Chapter, which is now SITE Spain & Portugal — achieved during our General Assembly in 2024.

Q: What's been your favorite SITE-related memory or experience so far? 

A: I recall one of my first Global Conferences in India. While I was new in the association at that time, I felt the sense of camaraderie, I met plenty of new friends and it was an amazing experience. The program and content were also incredible. It made me feel like our industry needs to be valued given the fact that what we do gives a lot of benefits to corporations, destinations and all industry stakeholders.

Being part of it was a feeling that changed my perception of things in our industry: that togetherness.

Q: Your chapter recently expanded to cover two countries and is now called SITE Spain & Portugal. Why did the chapter want to expand its reach? Are there any benefits you've enjoyed since the expansion? 

A: It was also in India when I had a conversation with a couple of colleagues from Portugal, Eduarda Neves and Rosário Morais. They were included in the Spanish Chapter as Portuguese members and at that time I told them: if you don’t have enough members to create your own chapter, we should be together.

That conversation was the seed, that stayed on my mind until the moment I became President of the Spanish Chapter. Together with the Board we decided to bring the question to the General Assembly.

We were very happy to see that the members unanimously approved to start studying the possibility of changing the Chapter from Spain only to Spain and Portugal. That was 2021. We created a committee, and I would like to express my thanks to the board and the members of the committee who worked tirelessly to change the bylaws.

“We are better together” is our motto. And being neighbor countries, we can build a stronger chapter. It is all about inclusion; our language differences or our small cultural differences should not be a barrier to cooperate.

Our newly created chapter’s main goals are to transmit the message of the incentive travel industry in both Spain and Portugal and to educate members and non-members with our continuous education program.

For the first years, it will be a tremendous effort for the current Board of Directors and future ones, but we all believe is the right path to follow and we are very excited in starting our new adventure together.

We will see benefits in the future for members in both countries. There is a lot of work to be done, but the current Board of Directors, which now includes two Portuguese members, is doing a great job to launch the chapter throughout 2024.

Q: What's new and exciting in your own incentive destination right now? Why should incentive travel organizers bring groups to Spain (or Portugal!)? 

A: Both Portugal and Spain are very mature destinations for incentive travel: Lisbon, Madrid, Porto, Barcelona, Sevilla, the Algarves, and Costa del Sol are just some examples of destinations that are booming for incentive travel.

I believe that the experience in running incentive programs, the number of great professionals in both countries, plus the addition of a great and very diverse destination make Portugal and Spain “musts” for incentive travel.

If you have never been, we are waiting for you!

Q: Is there a dream destination you have yet to visit and would like to cross off your travel "bucket list" still? 

A: I have traveled to many places where I would love to go back, or I’ve even had the opportunity to visit more than once thanks to my job — like Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, New York, Istanbul (what a great Conference this year!), Marrakesh, Cape Town. Beautiful destinations.

But on my bucket list I would say that the Antarctica is on that list and hopefully I can go there soon. My next planned trip is to Sedona, so I am so excited about going there!

Our congratulations again to Victor for his Member of the Year recognition. You can find more information about the award and past years’ recipients here.

Written by

SITE Staff


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