The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition (MICE) industry in India is witnessing some interesting developments. Last year, the Jio Convention Centre in Mumbai opened its doors to conference and exhibition planners as they introduced their offerings to the market. Though Mumbai is considered the commercial capital, it was starved of a world-class, state-of-the-art convention centre and the opening of Jio Convention Centre opens up possibilities for the city.
Similarly, in New Delhi, the Pragati Maidan, the destination for conferences and exhibitions is undergoing a complete revamp. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh has finalized a convention centre in Indore. Early this year, the Goa government approved the construction of a convention centre at Dona Paula. Coupled with many such centres in South India, this augurs well for the industry as a whole.
According to Grand View Research, the global MICE market size was estimated at US $ 658.5 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 6.6% from 2022 to 2030.
When one looks at India’s ranking, which according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), stood at 28 in 2019, it indicates scope for massive improvement. In terms of value, the MICE industry has generated US $ 280 billion in revenue. However, this is not enough. India has not been able to generate the kind of demand and interest amongst global MICE planners for a variety of reasons.
One is inadequate infrastructure. If one carefully looks at the Jio Convention Centre as an example, while the facility is world-class, access to that place is not convenient enough for the hordes of people who throng the venue. It’s important to have good public transport that’s accessible to the venue. Local governments while approving plans should also take into consideration issues like convenient access to the destination. The MICE industry has a multiplier effect. It’s not only the destination but also ancillary facilities that gain, such as conference organisers, restaurants, and retail among others.
One major factor that plays a role in attracting MICE tourism is incentives from the government. Many countries offer such options. Countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and UAE have incentive structures in place to attract MICE tourism. They partner with the local MICE organisers and make a joint bid for major events. They even incentivise smaller events as that enables them to attract larger events.
The industry has pointed out that one in five conference tourists, return as leisure tourists in the next two to three years with their families and this provides the destination with a steady stream of tourists.
It is imperative that the government considers various options to grow the size of this industry as the infrastructure is in place to attract large MICE movements. It will also boost the domestic industry as hotels and other allied sectors will also rise up to the challenge and upgrade their offerings to be competitive in the global marketplace.