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Indian MICE Travel on an Upbeat Mood

MICE travel, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions, Indian Tourism Industry, trade fairs

The tourism industry of India is on the cusp of an upswing. India’s travel and tourism market was valued at US $42 billion in 2005 (Euro Monitor 2006).A robust economy has already caught everyone by surprise and the portion of tourism in GDP is also rising significantly.
Globally the segment of Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Expositions, more popularly known as MICE, contributes to as much as 30% to the overall travel volumes and India is no exception to it. Both as a MICE destination and in MICE outbound, India stands to gain hugely.

Analysing the purposes of outbound travel we find VFR has always held the numero uno slot. However this may be superseded by MICE within a few years time. In order to become globally competitive, the Indian businessmen are now traveling abroad throughout the year and unlike the leisure travel which depends heavily on the season and weather MICE travel is a year-long proposition which translates into good business for the companies associated with it. Outbound MICE can be further segregated into various categories and the sector which is coming up really fast is trade fair travel constituting the ‘E’ of it.
With the country going global, the importance of visiting trade fairs has become imperative and is being considered an integral part of the marketing plan by the India Inc. The renowned events like K, ITMA, CeBIT have become synonymous with the showcasing of latest technological developments. Moreover they provide a global networking platform which can hardly be obtained in any other way. In fact, India’s being chosen as the partner country in reputed fairs viz. Hannover Messe, Frankfurt Book Fair bears testimony to its growing economic clout.

Incentive travel has always been popular with the Indian business community. Keeping a close watch on this vibrant fraternity, many destinations across the globe are vying with each other to woo the corporate traveler be it for an incentive trip or to hold a conference abroad. Countries are even offering world class facilities at a discounted price. As proven by the hosting of ZEE Cine Awards 2006 in Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre in Mauritius or the to be held IIFA 2007 awards in Yorkshire, UK there is hardly any doubt about the way Indians are constantly being lured in this regard.
Back home, the scenario is also fairly exciting. India gets close to 0.96% share of the world’s meetings which although is miniscule but there are ample rooms for growth. According to ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association), India can capture a chunk of the Asian MICE share, since 69% of MICE meetings prefer city hotels and 21% prefer resorts and India has an abundance of both. Countries like Singapore and Malaysia have grown exponentially in the MICE market and India has the potential to emulate them.

The biggest annual exhibition of the country, India International Trade Fair where over 4 million visitors flock in a matter of 14 days with over 7,500 corporate participants is the largest multi-product expo in Asia. The number of international exhibitions is increasing by the day. CPhI, the world’s largest pharmaceutical ingredients fair debuted in India in 2006. This year from 4th-7th Dec, 2007 Hannover Messe is also to be held in India. These are indeed a case in point to prove India’s growing eminence in the MICE segment.

In the domestic incentive travel market, states like Kerala, Karnataka, Maharastra etc. are in the forefront. Their USP lies in offering a subtle mix of business with pleasure offered in the form of pre and post event tours, state-of-the art facilities for the corporates etc. However several other states have also realized the huge potential that this sector holds and are taking rapid strides to come up with their unique products. This healthy competition should raise the bar for the industry at large.

Although problems like infrastructural bottleneck refuse to subside but the reasons of hoping for a brighter tomorrow are also in plenty. Backed by the conviction of major players and laudable initiatives of the government MICE travel is poised to shape the future of travel for days to come.
Published: 2007-06-06
Author: preetam bera

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