India took the G20 Presidency officially from December 1, 2022, which kickstarted with a meetings at destinations that showcased their M!CE facilities as well as tourism potential. Such meetings have been planned throughout next year to welcome delegates from across the world and it might just be India’s turn to play big in global M!CE arena.
It is a known fact that every country after its G20 Presidency could boost its tourist numbers and India might be part of that list, at least that is what the industry and the industry leaders are expecting. To make sure it happens, India will be showcasing all its tourism assets to delegates. However, apart from leisure, India is betting big on getting good M!CE business as it puts its best foot forward in terms of its meeting facilities.
G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER, Government of India (GoI), claimed that the G20 offers the best opportunity for India to showcase its culture, history and tourism potential and to position itself as a major tourist destination in the world. “We will host over 200 meetings across 55 cities from December 2022 to November 2023. These meetings are also proposed to be held in several states of Northeast including Aizawl. Among the G20 member countries, China, Mexico, India, South Africa and Indonesia are projected to expand their tourism industry post COVID. With our presidency we definitely can stride ahead of these 4-5 countries to build the rightful place of India’s tourism industry in the global arena,” he claimed.
Role of states in G20
Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, India, feels that all states should step up their game for G20. “The Prime Minister has asked us to do G20 meetings in all the states and Union Territories (UTs). Important thing is that every single visitor during G20 who comes to India is not coming just for G20. We must send him back as a brand ambassador of India. Every single tourist who comes during G20 must go back mentally rejuvenated as an Indian, he must be spiritually invigorated as an Indian and he must go back physically elevated as an Indian. That experience is not about hardware, but it’s about creating a unique experience around India’s culture, which can only be done by the state governments. They have their unique strengths. Every state should go back to its roots, create a unique state product, which is thoroughly Indian, and that is what every G20 visitor must experience.”
Opportunity for hospitality & M!CE
Arvind Singh, Secretary, Tourism, GoI, said that earlier, countries that took G20 Presidency, used it as an opportunity to project their nation to global community. “The expectations of the Indian hospitality space are rising rapidly, mirroring the growth in the quality of international tourism. This also reflects the growth of the Indian tourism industry, which is twice that of the global tourism industry. The upcoming G20 meet in India will be a key factor in aiding recovery for the Indian hospitality industry.”
He also shared that sustainability commitment needs to come in mainstream in tourism, especially with G20. “There are four tourism track meetings slated to be held during G20. It is the ideal time that India should take the leadership position in responsible tourism,” he said.
He added that at the time of G20, Ministry of Tourism is going to organise the Global M!CE Conference. Sharing the aim behind the same, Singh said, “The agenda will be to place India as an attractive M!CE destination. Today, India has very good M!CE facilities, air connectivity has improved, new convention centres are coming up, along with new hotels are coming up. Thus, there are many new destinations where M!CE events can be held. I am sure India is in a position to attract M!CE events much more than it did in the past.”
Face-change for India’s M!CE
Rakesh Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, GoI, claimed that G20 meetings are all important. “There are a large number of countries and other participants at these meetings. These destinations will showcase that they have capability to organise these meetings. That’s how the MICE traffic to these destinations will be improved due to G20,” he said.
On Global M!CE Conference, Verma said, “M!CE is one segment where India needs to do a lot. There is a lot of potential, but we have not got our market share. This global conference that we are planning with particular focus on G20 countries will be putting the best foot forward by telling what all is always available in the country in terms of M!CE infrastructure, M!CE specialties, and M!CE ecosystem. A lot of new things are happening and the MOT has recently unveiled a strategy for M!CE tourism and a National M!CE Board, has been set up. It is an inter-ministerial board to help us coordinate policies, take decisions and help us support the M!CE.”
Global hub of M!CE
India must be the global hub of M!CE and events, says Naveen Kundu, MD, EbixCash Travel & Holidays. “There’s no doubt that we will be a global hub for M!CE and events one day. Currently, whatever the government is doing is reasonably good. With the kind of infrastructure development there are more conventions happening in India. Thus, there are 3Cs required—we need more convention centres, creativity and connectivity. Above all we need the conviction of the government to do that rapidly to take us to that objective fast. For that, we all are hopeful that they will do something or the other,” he added.
Govt, industry on same page
MP Bezbaruah, Secretary General, HAI, shared that they trying to see that the industry and the government are on the same page. “Events are taking place in the remote corners of the country like Siliguri, Tripura, Northeast and certainly these places will get an exposure, which has not been there earlier. It’s also perhaps we hope will help in improving the infrastructure in many of these areas and will encourage the states to create more destinations along those places,” he said.
Sharing that the year-long event is a golden opportunity for the tourism and hospitality industry to shine on the global stage, Jaison Chacko, Secretary General, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), urged the government to intensify promotional initiatives under Incredible India to attract as many foreign tourists as possible during the year and leave an indelible mark of India on the tourism map of the world. “This is the time the government should go full throttle to promote tourism under the Incredible India banner. The hospitality industry is raring to showcase its world-class standards and facilities to the world while celebrating the country’s rich and varied heritage and diversity,” he added.
Need more int’l conferences
Informing that the hospitality industry is working with the G20 organising committee Arun
Kumar, Market Vice President- North India, Nepal and Bhutan, Marriott, shared, “We have over 100 hotels in India, and we want business at the end of the day. The same goes for other operators. For us as a company, G20 is a prestigious event for our country. I think it’s very nice that instead of big cities, we have identified 55 destinations across India to have meetings and everybody will benefit from this.”
PPP is key
Valmiki Harikishan, MD, Valmiki Travel & Tourism Solutions, shared that even Telangana has got two G20 events to be organized. “We are equally excited to support the MOT, because government alone cannot do everything and anything. They need the stakeholders, particularly tourism industry, which will always add value and laurels to it making the G20 events pan India more successful. My expectation is that in every state public and private partnership should happen to make these G20 events more successful. Value addition can be given to experiential projects, where tourism only add experience, local authenticity, right from local cuisine tasting, or local cities showcasing or monuments showcasing. This will offer the much-needed break in between the meetings and tourism can add value to it. The delegates can also rejuvenate with wellness tourism, which is doing very well in India. I’m sure tourism is the key to rest of the industries to make G20 successful,” he said.