India unlike China, Japan or Korea remained uncannily inert in terms capitalising the global MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) market in the last decade. It’ll be interesting to observe what the government intends to do to boost it in the next five years.
The meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) industry has evolved as one of the most promising business proposition for a country’s holistic growth in tourism and commerce. Although, India was a slow starter, the recent developments in the sector narrate a hopeful chronicle. The Narendra Modi-led government made its intentions very clear in terms of improving the tourism sector and the MICE facilities up to the global standards. To accommodate the required development, a complete research was required to understand the pros and cons of the present infrastructure. It was imperative to understand India’s relative position in the inbound MICE map of the world.
Global MICE Travel Mart 2016
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) co-organized the first edition of the Global MICE Travel Mart 2016 (GMTM) at The Lalit, New Delhi on May 19-21, 2016. The three day event was inaugurated by Mr. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India & Chairman. The event is the only branded exclusive inbound MICE market platform, now in India.
During the event, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry also released a White Paper, “India Inbound MICE Tourism, trends and opportunities 2016” in association with knowledge partner MRSS INDIA Ltd., a strategic market research firm. Instrumental initiatives taken up by the Central and State Governments across the country to explore the opportunities in this high growth, high potential growth engine is the prime focus of the report.
The Global MICE Travel Mart 2016 was concluded successfully with participation from industry specialists from across the globe and Tour Operators, Hotels, Airlines, National level Associations and State Governments promoting MICE Tourism to India. This format offered structured B2B pre-scheduled meetings and networking opportunities to international buyers and India sellers to connect strategically, MRSS India announced in a press release.
India already has a host of locations which are well acclaimed MICE destinations. The physical and peripheral infrastructure has already geared up or is in the final stage of completion. A few more destinations have also been conceived off, represents the report. Looking at this potential, Ministry of Tourism has established the India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) under its’ aegis along with well-known industry experts. This aims to promote India as a destination in the global MICE market. The Bureau participates in travel conferences and also organizes road shows both at domestic as well as international locations to formalize the concept.
ICCA rank improves
India recently climbed to the 31st position in the recent list of global meeting market published by ICCA -the International Congress and Convention Association. ICCA is the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry. Often misunderstood as the rankings for meeting destinations, these ICCA rankings provide evidence of India’s relative performance.
Last year, ICCA placed India at the 35th position in the rankings worldwide and the ninth position in the Asia Pacific region following 116 global business events in 2014. The major cities which hosted the events were Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Cochin.
ICCA ranked Japan at 7 while China shares the 8th position with Netherlands, being the only two Asian nations to get a place in the top-ten countries list.
Speaking about the long-term stability of the global MICE market, ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented: “It’s always risky to draw conclusions from a single year’s data, but it appears that competition is getting tougher for the traditional market leaders, with faster growth outside the top ten positions.”
While India’s meetings industry still strives to gain the momentum, the knowledge partner of GMTM 2016, Mr. Raj Sharma, Chairman, MRSS India Ltd. said, “As a knowledge partner, it was a great platform offered by FICCI having International buyers and Indian sellers under one roof discussing MICE opportunities and challenges. As a market research company a, we do a lot of research in tourism space in India and Internationally. India is one nation which is yet to tap the potential of huge MICE businesses. INDIA INBOUND MICE TOURISM, White Paper by FICCI and MRSS India not only provides data and analyses but also has offered five point suggestions to the MICE industry to be positively impacted.”
The MICE industry not only improves the global face of a country’s tourism but adds significantly to the foreign tourist earnings. The importance of attracting mid-market corporate travellers should be a key concern for the Indian MICE tourism industry. The affordable luxury travellers and the premium economy travellers comprise this mid-market segment and they are mostly conference delegates from various countries. Creating a mid-market hospitality sector, improving technological aspects of the conference and meeting venues in the country and a skilled work-force to accommodate the global demand will remain a challenge for India to deal with.