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India needs to focus on its infrastructure to organise large format MICE events, say industry experts

Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 17:07 Hrs  [IST]
Asmita Mukherjee | Hyderabad

Disruption in travel has not only impacted tourism, but MICE, as well. The importance of MICE and International tourists to the Indian economy is significant. Due to the multiple travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic, MICE bookings had been on the decline since the past year. But, with the cautious easing of travel restrictions by the Indian states over the last few months, a slow growth in MICE has been witnessed. 

The Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India organised the annual flagship virtual event ‘Travel India 2021’, in which eminent panellists discussed about ‘Positioning India as MICE Hub of Asia’. The session was moderated by Shekhar Grovver, MD, MICE India. Amaresh Tiwari, Vice Chairman, ICPB; Rakshit Desai, MD, FCM Travel Solutions & Chairman, FICCI Corporate & MICE Tourism Committee; Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, FHRAI, Vice President Incharge; Anil Parashar, Director, InterGlobe Aviation; Parveen Chander, Sr VP – Sales & Marketing, IHCL were amongst the panellists.

Mentioning the missing parts in India’s focus on MICE, Rakshit Desai, MD, FCM Travel Solutions & Chairman, FICCI Corporate & MICE Tourism Committee, said, “We lack the safety and sanitary aspects. We have fabulous places in our country but there is a capacity problem. If we have to compete in this space we have to bring forward international standards.”

Pointing out the fact that connectivity within Indian cities is no more a back-draw, Anil Parashar, Director, InterGlobe Aviation said, “Connectivity is not a challenge anymore. We are opening airports every month, and now more and more opening destinations are opening. 

People are coming to India for exploring tier?II and tier –III cities. The reputation of India has gone up, and people want to be in India today. Our country is now very well placed in the international market. In my opinion, maintaining international standards is a must at this point in time. We need to work together as a team, and then only MICE will be our backbone. We need to go to the Govt. to bring forth our problems and needs with one voice collectively.”

Speaking on the topic, Amaresh Tiwari, Vice Chairman, ICPB, said “Our ministry needs to focus on creating the right infrastructure. In my opinion, to make it work, single vendor clearance is a must, so that we can make ease of organising MICE events to our country.”

Speaking about whether hotels andrestaurants are ready to welcome large format MICE guests, Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, FHRAI, Vice President Incharge said, “We are absolutely geared. We need to accept that we need to battle in this space. Improvise and improve keeping our standards high are the only formula.”

“Issues like allowing liquor in a dry state, who is organising MICE, needs to be sorted out, if not eradicated. The sector is important as we have seen that exhibition / MICE tourists spend much more than leisure tourists,” he added.

“We just need the speed to be going, MICE tourism as a distinct tourism business. We need to enlarge the definition of MICE, we can include Virtual meetings, movie shoots, in the segment. States should be encouraged to receive MICE business. To incentivise MICE, we should start with domestic MICE,” Singh said. 

While stating the fact, that India has very few convention centres to organise MICE events in a larger format, Parveen Chander, Sr. VP – Sales & Marketing, IHCL said, “We need larger destinations and capacity, for larger formats. We are still at a nascent stage. We have 20 international airports but that’s not enough.  We need to work together as an industry to make it work.”

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