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HomeNewsIndia TourismIndia’s MICE Sector: Holding Back the Sleeping Giant?

India’s MICE Sector: Holding Back the Sleeping Giant?

  • “Technically we are working as PPP module, the government funding was never there. And therefore, the marketing support was not there.” – Amaresh Tiwari

  • “We are also trying give infrastructure status to convention centres, mice facilities, and hotels that should ease the initial capital investment into the sector” – Rakesh Kumar Verma

Despite India’s natural and cultural advantages and its status as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the MICE sector remains largely untapped, with less than 1% share in the global market. India’s ranking of 28th with 158 meetings in the 2019 according to International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) indicates significant room for growth in attracting international conferences and events. With strategic investments in infrastructure, marketing, and industry partnerships, India has the potential to significantly boost its presence at global MICE centerstage, leveraging its diverse offerings to attract a broader spectrum of corporate events and exhibitions.

With the similar accord, the inaugural function of the 14th CIC, themed ‘Sustainable MICE: Empowering Events towards 5 trillion Economy’, kickstarted with a resounding message of leveraging the global MICE opportunity towards achieving country’s economic and growth aspirations. The event put MICE opportunity and it’s potential at the heart of the function offering tremendous arguments on the merits and necessity of growing MICE tourism in the country.

Industry Speaks

Speaking on the occasion, ICPB Vice Chairman, Amaresh Tiwari, said, “As our honourable Prime Minister said, MICE has potential to create huge infrastructure and growth in the tourism sector. MICE industry was expected to be upward of US $800 Billion globally. India’s share was expected to be around less than just 1 percent. MICE sector is said to have the strongest and direct contribution to GDP than any other tourism sector. Each 100 Rupees spent in India can make an indirect impact of 160 Rupees. In the MICE sector, economic output globally is estimated at US $1 trillion or more. Thus we, between our all states and the center, must double our MICE share to 2.5 percent of the world share. We must target more than 1,00,000 crore in direct economic and 1,60,000 crore in indirect benefit to all our states.”

Furthermore, Tiwari lamented that as of now, India is only represented with one city in the top 100 city ranking of ICCA. He said that India must set a goal to have 10 cities in the top 100 city ranking brought out by ICCA for the largescale events such as congresses and convention. Furthermore, Tiwari, insisted that at least one or two Indian cities must also find place among the top 10 city destinations of ICCA ranking. The ICPB Vice Chairman argued that in order to achieve the desired result, “we must all work together between center and the states government and the stakeholders, benchmark our MICE infrastructure, up our cities as top global MICE cities. We must recognize MICE tourism as a distinct business and industry segment.”

Adding more to what should be the way ahead, Tiwari opined, that the future is where the private sector and public sector work together. “With this vision and theme, ICPB was established in 1988. But unfortunately, when we worked on the PPP module with ICPB and Ministry of Tourism coming together, the funding part was not channelized. Most of the bureaus depend on govt. funding for sourcing and marketing purposes. Whatever has been enforced till date has been single-handedly done by the private sector. Although, technically we are working as PPP module, the govt. funding was never there. And therefore, the marketing support was not there. 80% of the global conferences are with less than 1000 people. As of now, we have 70 convention centers that can handle more than 1000 – 15,000 people, and almost 500 centres that can handle less than 500 people. That kind of infrastructure we already have, and all we need to do is marketing.”

According to him, we need to have a concrete plan. India is missing out in most of the globally recognized B2B exhibitions. “Everyone ask us where is India. We do have the space, but it is not designed or utilized. We now have ‘Meet In India’, and we are very happy for it, but we have to understand what is the exact strategy, and how are we going to take this forward. Are we actually going on a PPP model? Will the private and public sector work together?”, questioned Tiwari. Hopefully, with knowledge exchange, India will soon come up with schemes and benefits. The need of the hour is to put focus in reaching out to the global audience, communication, marketing, preaching that ‘We are ready’.

Strategy & Way Ahead

During the convention, Rakesh Kumar Verma, IAS, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India admits that India has just less than 1% share in the global MICE business, despite of excellent infrastructure, knowledge capital, entrepreneurship and service delivery. “As per strategy, we are targeting 2%, but India certainly deserves more than that. G20 brought the confidence that we have the strength to host international events across the small and big capitals and other destinations, and this must be maintained.”, Verma added.

MoT has put together thoughts and consultation with the industry and States, to bring National Strategy that is majorly built on 6 areas. The first one is to provide institutional support to the MICE segment. In the national strategy, the bits of the institutional structure has now been articulated and MoT is trying to operationalize at the national level, state level, and city level. MoT is also proposing and advocating MICE bureaus at the city level, when a city must present itself for hosting events, it has to bring all private and public sector stakeholders together to position the city, and the city MICE bureau can play the role in the best possible way.

The second area of focus is that a destination has to have a full and vibrant ecosystem and the entire value chain to succeed. According to Verma, there are gaps in terms of the accommodation facilities and other associated things that need to be there for a conference destination to succeed.

The third piece is to look at competitiveness when it comes to offerings, how do we create and look at infrastructure. India has created infrastructure, hotels for conferences, conventions centres, and continue supporting the same to maintain the cost-effectiveness. There are taxation and non-taxation issues, how do we ensure the initial investment is made, subsequent operations and maintenance, shared Verma. Also, coming to the lower touch points, how to ensure ease of doing business, whether in terms of accessing cultural attractions or accessing visa facilitation and ensure that the organizers do not face challenges.

Next, the area of concern is how to position this segment, the marketing and promotional strategy. Under Incredible India, MoT has created a new sub-brand ‘Meet in India’ that highlights India as a MICE destination across the globe. The idea is to have marketing and promotion dedicated social media platform, app interface, and also going and participating as a MICE exhibitor for positioning the country as a whole.

The last area is around skill development, identifying what kind of courses or trainings can be done for different segments. So that when you give manpower, they are fully equipped ensuring that the destinations’ reputation is maintained.

Verma also applauds the opportunity brought by G20 with regards to boosting confidence to host big events in both big-small cities, “G20 has given us a tremendous boost in terms of organizing great international events across the country. We did not think that we could go to Itanagar or some of the remote parts of the country and conduct international events. And we have done this, we have proven this. Therefore, G20 has opened plenty of doors for us, especially in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. And I am sure the growth momentum has begun, there is lot of actions on this front from the Central govt, and the State governments are also aligned being a part of the G20. It is a great time to develop India as a MICE destination.”

Another area we are looking at providing infrastructure status, MoT is working with the Finance Ministry to facilitate those policies, bring out amendments and we moving ahead in the process of operationalizing and implementing. “We are also trying give infrastructure status to convention centres, MICE facilities, and hotels that should ease the initial capital investment into the sector”, mentions Verma. “Now with all the efforts put together, we must be spearheading championing, we should be bringing confidence to the international organizations and associations preaching we are ready to welcome them. We have now understood the right direction and headed in the right direction and continuing the G20 momentum.”

MoT has plans to work in a public funding scheme, as ultimately the question arises how much resources are being put to the table. He further adds about the way forward, “There are a lot of places where the govt funding has to support, whether its bidding stage, marketing and promotion, or capacity building, or supporting the city bureaus. We will definitely bring out a very strong govt. funded mechanism for a national-level MICE bureau, so that it can undertake the functions without depending.”






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