ICPB launches its first state chapter and promotes its host as an upcoming MICE destination.
The India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) in association with the West Bengal Ministry of Tourism, held the 11th edition of their flagship event, “Convention India Conclave” in Kolkata at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre from August 29– 31, 2018. Based around the theme, “Scaling New Heights – Building for the Future” the conclave discussed the various segments of the MICE industry and talked about creating business opportunities, exhibition and B2B meetings.
The three day event kicked off with an announcement by the chairman of ICPB about the launch of its first state chapter in Kolkata and how it would help in the promotion of West Bengal as a major MICE destination. The event also saw a panel discussion on “Public- private partnership for destination marketing” followed by sessions with speaker John Martinez, CEO, Schocklogic, UK and other international speakers.
Providing the means to the end
On a global basis the MICE industry has generated a revenue amounting to USD 752 billion in the 2016-17 financial year with an estimated contribution of about USD 65 billion by India.
Experts addressed many issues and conjectured about the growing of MICE tourism which is around 52 pc of the market and the hindrance to its effectiveness in the state and the nation. “To change the perception of women safety and to promote India as a safe destination to the inbound international tourist will help India to enhance as a MICE destination.” said Siddhant Kaul, the past president of Indian Chamber of Commerce.
To raise a significant amount of demand and prioritise each product in the market, new approaches have been taken to make India more nuanced in terms of wellness, such as ayurveda and yoga to make it more product and market oriented.
“Working on the principle of reciprocity in aviation and open sky policy in India – you allow my carrier to come to your country, I allow yours with the addition policy of more seats,” said Suman Billa, IAS, joint secretary and chairman, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. He also raised the need to cut down the taxation of luxury hotels which is broadly affecting the tourism sector.
Boosting MICE in Kolkata
With foreign footfalls of around 5000 tourists this year, Kolkata is still far behind in numbers. Atri Bhattacharya, IAS, home secretary, Government of West Bengal, said “Speaking of generalisation and analysing as to why only China, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe attract large volumes of tourists and businesses, the industry needs to gather data of the tourists and map them as where they are coming from, what are their interests here, which cities they are majorly gathering in. Understanding the trend becomes very essential, in order to plan for the future.”
Kolkata being the transit point of many places; there is an urge to increase the days of stay for the tourists. “We need to increase the FAM trips so that we can show them locations beyond Kolkata such as places like Shantineketan, Sundarbans. Also, there are plans to put up a sea- side resort near Kolkata in the future. As moving towards experiential tourism local cuisines need to push more globally,” Atri Bhattacharya told Media India Group. While addressing the issue of saturated airport in Kolkata, he added, “There is a need to build and develop further points of entry. More direct flight connectivity to tap into the huge untapped market in China and South East Asia is needed, along with critical need of Wi-Fi connectivity for modern business travellers in order to enhance the MICE market in Kolkata.”