Is India all set to play host to MICE?

The industry needs to look at why India hasn’t been able to reverse the MICE traffic and bring in more and more events to India. Six stakeholders speak their mind on this issue and suggest ways to improve the same.

HAZEL JAIN

Sandeep Ramakrishnan, Director, Consumer Links Marketing

MICE in India is going to be the next big thing as convention centres, exhibition venues and on-ground expos are generating a high degree of response. Currently, India is ready for MICE at select destinations only. However, for smaller groups of around 250-300, we have adequate facilities across the country to suffice the basic requirements. Of course, India lacks world-class facility in terms of space, project facilities, and logistics, etc. Only a few cities have noteworthy convention facilities like Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Greater Noida. A friendly tax structure is key to grow MICE.

Birju Gariba, CEO and Executive Director, Platinum World Group

India is most certainly MICE-ready but conditions do apply – as long as the MICE movement is not a large number of people, within some repetitive cities and in a handful of cities that are well connected by air. These are, however, limited and technological infrastructure is yet not state-of-the-art. All infrastructural upgrades require huge investments with payback periods ranging beyond a decade. Hence, corporate partnerships with government are the need of the hour. This along with some attractive incentives may help the next level of MICE infra boom.

Mukesh Makhijani, Director, Stimulus Hospitality

Yes, India is definitely ready for MICE! Our excellent connectivity from major international hubs, the presence of hotel brands and unparalleled hospitality makes us a good candidate for MICE. But our MICE infrastructure has a long way to go if we compare it with other contenders. India’s location and connectivity with all major international hubs is our main strength. But lack of options for large venues. The government needs to create a MICE-specific campaign, ease permissions to make things easier for organisers and create convention venues which can host big events.

Mubashar Ahmed, Regional Category Manager (Travel & Meetings Procurement), Capgemini India

India is partially ready for MICE. We definitely see a large number of room nights in bigger cities to support MICE. However, larger convention centres and market maturity in usage and responsiveness on MICE tools for RFP evaluation needs improvement. The ministry and the government need to forge joint ventures with private investors to build large conventions and market India as a destination for MICE at global forums.

Manish Raj Board Member, Membership Committee, The Infrastructure, Facility, HR & Realty Association (iNFHRA)

India is certainly ready for MICE and some of the major cities have venues to meet the needs like Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Goa. During my interactions with organisers in other countries, one of the major concerns is the traffic and local infrastructure. The Ministry of Tourism needs to look at promoting these venues, especially some of the key cities at MICE forums. India needs to improve the infrastructure to give a better experience to delegates. We must involve industry leaders to promote India as a MICE destination.

Rishabh Shah, Managing Partner, The Grand Vacationist

India is MICE-ready in a few metros or boutique resorts in popular destinations like Kerala and Rajasthan. India has the hotel inventory to cater to MICE. However, we lack sound road infrastructure and connectivity in many places that can be considered exotic or bespoke beyond Rajasthan and Kerala. The Tourism Ministry along with MoEA and other relevant ministries should come together and look at promoting each state as a global MICE-friendly destination with respect to the facilities, beauty and cultural heritage the way Europeans market themselves, whilst also improving connectivity and road infrastructure.

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