As India gears up to make its ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse — one of the world’s largest tourism trade fairs) debut in April this year, the country’s position as a MICE hub for corporates around the globe strengthens. As per the recent report by the International Congress and Convention Association (a prominent organization in the world of international meetings), India stands at the 28th position in the global meetings market worldwide and at the seventh spot in the Asia Pacific region.
Expressing his views on this upsurge, Rakesh Mitra, corporate general manager, sales and revenue, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group says, “It is an Asian century. The MICE market is shifting to Asia and the world is looking towards India and China for business. There has been an increase in the inbound movement over the years and with many multinational corporations coming to develop their businesses in India, the MICE sector’s share in the overall revenue of the country has steadily picked up.”
An enhanced infrastructure, diverse conference venues and a fast-growing start-up scene are a few factors driving mid- and large-scale MICE projects in India. “The MICE sector is emerging as the most significant sub-sector of the travel industry owing to its greater per capita consumption contrasting to leisure tourism, and furthermore its role in growing a destination’s profile,” says Pankaj Wadhwa, director of sales and marketing, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, a prominent MICE hotel in Mumbai.
Along with Sofitel Mumbai BKC, Mumbai boasts an array of state-of-the-art MICE hubs — The St. Regis Mumbai; Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai; The Oberoi, Mumbai; Jio World Garden and Bombay Exhibition Centre. These premium venues combined with talented event planning companies make Mumbai a preferred choice among international travellers.
However, preceding Mumbai in India’s MICE sector is New Delhi. What makes the national capital a favorite is its heritage and offbeat offerings. Elaborating on this, Suman Julka, director of sales and marketing, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi says, “MICE events are organized, with the idea of giving unique experiences to the visitor. Here, the ideal location of our hotel helps as the traveler looks at pre-and post-tours as well. Organizers try to schedule itineraries where they can take their guests out for an event for a city tour or a cultural tour experience.”
Talk about MICE, and the mention of the Silicon Valley of India, Bengaluru and the tech hub, Hyderabad comes innately. When asked about Bengaluru’s popularity in MICE, Saharsh Vadhera, director of sales and marketing at Shangri-La Hotel, Bengaluru says, “Bengaluru is the hotspot for larger MICE events especially from defense/civil aviation, pharmaceuticals as well as manufacturing industries. The city boasts advanced infrastructure including the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, enhanced connectivity with various international destinations and adequate lodging options. We definitely are giving tough competition to several leading destinations.”
Likewise, Hyderabad has made its name among the top four Indian MICE cities with the help of hospitality giants like Accor and the Hyderabad Convention Visitors Bureau (HCVB), a city-specific convention bureau working towards promoting and bringing MICE events to the city.
Going further south, we have Chennai which as Ranjith Reddy, director of sales and marketing, The Leela Palace Chennai points out is gaining prominence in the segment due to improved flight connectivity of the city, superlative hotel infrastructure, economical tariffs and a wide choice of sightseeing options.
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