The process of extensive expansion of industries and their growing needs, the acronym MICE have gained prominence. The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry is extensively and rapidly growing and is largely associated with travel for business purpose.
MICE related events include meetings, conferences, conventions, exhibitions and incentive travels. Though each of these different subsections of MICE has quite different characteristics the industry is often referred to with the popular acronym as MICE.
Table of Content
Increasingly convention bureaus serve the needs of meetings and exhibitions organizers for which the service providers bring in all the necessities for each of the sectors.
With the Indian economy opening up and government restrictions loosening, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata are assuming importance as major centres of business activity in the country, with tier two and tier three cities starting to give them good competition, with the improvement of infrastructure and other related facilities, as result of growth of the nation.
Since the liberalization of the Indian economy, MICE tourism is a growing segment in India. More business people have been coming to India for business purpose and with business the concept of pleasure is also included in their India tour.
MICE is an acronym for the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions tourism Segment.
This is therefore a business-oriented segment, involving obligatory (or non-discretionary) travel. The Incentives part of MICE is the odd one out – though it is related to business, as it is usually provided to employees or dealers/distributors as a reward, it tends to be leisure based.
This MICE segment of tourism business is the fastest growing section of the International tourism market. It caters to various forms of business meetings, International conferences and conventions, events and exhibitions.
Each of these different subsections of MICE has quite different characteristics although the industry is often referred to as MICE. Increasingly convention bureaus serve the needs of meetings, incentives and exhibitions organizers and service providers supply each of the sectors. Incentive travel has emerged as a popular means of rewarding the employees’ achievements and contributions, by several business houses especially multinational companies, Insurance Companies, Banks, Pharmaceuticals Firms, etc. Incentive tours market has become fast growing sector within the tourism industry.
Being a hot favourite tourist destination, India is also very much into the business. After the hot-spots like Hong Kong, Malaysia and Dubai, India is fast gaining its pace in the competition to become an ideal MICE destination. With the advanced technology and facilities, warm hospitality, personalized services coupled with immense natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, the goal seems to be not very far. MICE tourism is the new buzzword in the international tourist market and relates to various business groups and individual travelers.
The importance of the MICE industry lies in the fact that it converts the annual business meetings and conferences into a glamorous and enjoyable event for the delegates and attendants. Be it a meeting to bring people together either from within one company or from a broader spectrum or an international conference of 100 delegates or product launch party or exhibition, MICE tourism finds itself being inevitable in all the occasions.
What makes India different from any other destination is the myriad of experiences that it offers. Amidst the countless ways that India can capture world attention as a tourist paradise, there also exists a dynamic business opportunity as a splendid venue for international conferences and conventions of no less than global standards.
India is undoubtedly a unique Conference Destination as it offers cultural and heritage sites, the exotic and mystical, excellent facilities of beach and adventure holidays which can be combined as pre and post conference tours.
Enchanting India’s image as a conference destination is also projected through the chains of hotels, providing international standards in facilities and services. Exclusive business hotels and exotic resorts, with meeting rooms of distinction, spacious convention facilities, modern business centers and a wide range of conference facilities, the different cities and places across the length and breadth of the country.
India is in a continual process of upgrading its MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) facilities. There are multiple plans on the anvil for more world-class convention centers, airports that contest with the best in the world and efforts to team the famous Indian hospitality with customisation as per a visitor’s requirement.
The Infrastructure for MICE
India provides an impressive combination of accommodation and other conference support facilities to hold a successful Conference. To mention a few; Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, Centre Point, Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Mumbai, the BM Birla Science and Technology Centre in Jaipur, the Jaypee Hotels & International Convention Centre, Agra and the Cochin Convention Centre, Kochi etc together with facilities in the business hotels and resorts at various centers in the country.
India is going the global way and MICE is fast becoming a major part of its travel and promotional budgets. In the Indian context, incentives is at present the largest component of MICE but in a maturing market, it’s only a matter of time before the entire gamut of MICE activities are undertaken by the Indian corporate world.
With the expansion in the network of airlines operation on the domestic routes, better tourist surface transport systems including the Indian Railways, new centers of information technology, many new convention centres, hotels and meeting facilities, India is now an important MICE destination. The Indian sub-continent is emerging as one of the finest Incentive destinations in the world owing to the diverse culture and geography.
From the icy Himalayas to the tropical islands and from citadels in the desert to verdant jungles it is a world in itself. With the emergence of exciting new destinations every year one has unparalleled choices for the incentive operator here. The incentive programmes are a combination of old world charm and tradition interlaced with modern cosmopolitan sophistication.
Today, there are distinct travel divisions within tour companies and airlines that exclusively target MICE movement. Destinations have also begun to market MICE products to specialised agencies and the corporate world at large.
The business of MICE holds enormous potential for any country. It is estimated that a person travelling to a country for a conference or convention spends anywhere four to eight times more than a normal leisure traveller. They spend more on food, more on business centre services.
India is globally connected to a network of over 50 international airlines and several domestic airlines, which provide convenient connectivity within India. Added to this is an elaborate network of surface transportation system. There is an excellent Railway system running through the entire country. All-important cities are connected with stateof-the-art ‘Shatabdi & Rajdhani’ Express trains.
Special trains like Palace on Wheels and Royal Orient Express, comprising of air-conditioned saloons decorated in the old Maharaja style offer guests a chance to stay on the train and visit colourful Rajasthan and fascinating Gujarat. An excellent network of roads, national and state highways, luxury coaches, Indian & foreign-make vehicles add to the convenience and comfort of surface travel.
India offers an educated manpower base where fluency in English and other official international languages can be expected. A large number of Convention Centres are available in India with a seating capacity of up to 1700 persons. Some important hotel chains like the Taj Group, ITC-Welcomgroup, the Oberoi’s, Meridien Hotels, Marriott Hotels etc. also have excellent conference facilities.
The exhibition industry has also gained fresh impetus with exhibition centres like Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, the Nehru Centre in Mumbai and the Chennai Trade Centre in Chennai amongst several other options. Let us discuss the popular MICE destinations in the country.
MICE Venues in India
The Pearl City Hyderabad is has become hub for information and technology in India. Studded with numerous heritage monuments, the heritage city Hyderabad has come up with a sophisticated business venue, Hyderabad International Convention Centre – HICC. The lavish HICC is able to meet the requirements of a convention of 5000, a seminar for 500 or a meeting of 50.
The HICC is spread over 15 acres of landscape area and has a pillar-free hall measuring 6,480 sq mts, which can be partitioned into six halls. The centre has already hosted a number of prestigious international and national meets in a short period of time and has been appreciated by the organizers.
The capital city New Delhi has been the favourite MICE destination for quite some time. The numerous charm of the city varies from ancient monuments to excellent shopping options making the business meeting and conference here an absolute pleasure. The Ashok, New Delhi, has been hosting meetings and conventions on the international scale for more than four decades.
Spread over 16,435 sq ft, the pillar-less Convention Hall at The Ashok is a favourite venue for the top businessmen and government officials. The Ashok also has a banquet hall, a cocktail lounge and an open air theatre in the 3rd floor.
Other business meeting venues of the capital are the Habitat World Convention Centre, Vigyan Bhawan and a number of hotels with excellent convention facilities including Taj Palace, Maurya Sheraton, Le Meridien, etc.
Rich with the lustrous beaches and emerald backwaters, Kerala is an ideal leisure destination. After fascinating the whole world with its breathtaking beauty, Kerala now finds itself as an inevitable destination in the business tourism itinerary. Nestled in the midst of the nature, Le Meridien, Cochin boasts of a number of well equipped conference and banquet halls.
It houses a convention hall to seat 1,600 approx, with a ceiling height of 15 mts. The recent additions to the hotel are four new conference halls, 52,000 sq ft of air-conditioned space and 95,000 sq ft of lawn area. Ayurveda is the major attraction here amongst the business delegates and their family. Jewish Synagogue and Dutch Palace are the other attractions of Cochin.
Situated on the outskirt of New Delhi, Noida is fast growing as one of the most modern cities of India. The city flaunts a number of venues catering multiple opportunities of business tourism. The Delhi International Expo Centre is a smart venue to hold B2B and B2C exhibitions, conferences, seminars and banquets. The infrastructure here is able to hold exhibitions across 1,500 to 10,000 sq mts of area and banquets for 25 to 5000 people.
India Expo Centre in Greater Noida is another centre offering an impressive international business environment ideal for product launches, seminars, dealer meets, exhibitions and corporate functions. The excellent golf course in the vicinity of the centre is there to give the guests a refreshing escape from the meetings and conferences.
The 28,000 sq metres of exhibition space spread over 8 halls, 800 sq metres of banquet space with sound proof partition and pre-function area are the other facilities that make this Expo Centre special.
The amalgam of the ancient heritage and natural beauty makes Chennai a prime tourist destination in the country. A walk in the long stretches of Marina Beach offers an unforgettable experience. Now, the Tamil Nadu government has come up with the Chennai Convention Centre (CCC) to promote the world-class business tourism.
The CCC has a banquet space ranging from 250 sq ft to 20,000 sq ft holding 22 to 2000 delegates at a time. The 67,000 sq ft of air-conditioned space and 75,000 sq ft of lawns offer plenty of space for conventions and other events.
The city of the Taj, Agra famous for its splendorous Mughal architecture, Taj Mahal, gives an excellent chance to turn the business tour to an ideal heritage tour. The Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre has some nice arrangement to hold conventions, conferences and meetings. The convention centre can comfortably cater to 1500 delegates whereas equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities, such as audio-visual recording, satellite uplink and multi lingual interpretation.
The sprawling banquet hall here has a capacity to hold 350 guest with exclusive prefunction area for 200 guests and an attached garden for 300 guests. The hotel has successfully hosted a number of national and international gatherings till date.
As the commercial capital of India, Mumbai is one of the best MICE venues in the country. Business delegates visit this city for highprofile conventions, conferences, meetings and seminars. The proximity with business hubs like Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nashik gives added betifit to the city as a MICE venue. The Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Mumbai set the standards for the new wave of convention centers in India.
The convention center offers 15 meeting rooms and a full service business center along with other world -standard amenities. Mumbai’s stock of 5 star convention and meeting facilities has been further enhanced with the recent opening of the Four Seasons Hotel.
Off the Mumbai Pune highway, spread over 10,000 undulating acres on the Sahyadri Mountains, Amby Valley City is slowly gaining recognition as a MICE venue.
Amby Valley’s world class infrastructure and an innovative range of luxurious locations makes every conference, product launch, incentive programme or annual meet conducted here a memorable one. Some state-of- the art confentions centers are also coming up in Pune.
Shimla and Manali are one of the upcoming and ideal destinations for holding conferences as most of the hotels provide facilities for conferences and its scenic beauty allows you to enjoy in pleasurable activities and also provides peace of mind. The conference in Shimla few of the hotels providing such facilities are The Oberoi Cecil, Windflower Hall, Hotel De Park and Grand Leela Regancy etc.
Jaipur – Udaipur
Jaipur city founded in year 1728 has many conference venues including B. M. Birla Science center, ITC Rajputana, Clarks Amer and Mansingh Tower all providing world-class facilities. Udaipur, the city of lakes offers ample choices for holding a conference. The hotels of Udaipur not only provide the latest amenities but also the charm of royal era. Some of the prime venues are Hotel Trident, Taj Lake Palace, Rajputana Palace and Hotel Lakend etc.