India has always been an enchanting destination for tourists from all around the world. In recent times, it has emerged as a hub for MICE tourism as well. India caters to the needs of a varied genre of tourists with her alluring hill-stations, exotic beaches, lush-green tea gardens, glamping hot spots, gleaming palaces and more. It is an appealing concoction of culture with modern amenities. The warmth, the courtesy and the hospitality that one gets in India is incomparable. It has got everything that a conference organiser may wish for.
The sophistication of modern event organisation combined with the culture and tradition of India, MICE tourism in India is a different experience altogether. State of the art amenities, standard facilities for conferences, unique incentive options and cost effectiveness make it an ideal MICE destination.
According to International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), India is 27th meetings market. The inbound MICE segment of India is growing at the rate of 15 to 29 per cent per annum. The conference market in India is valued at about $4.8 billion and is growing at a very fast pace. Ministry of Tourism, Government of India sponsors India Convention Promotion Bureau, which is a business organisation, working for the past 25 years to promote and establish India as the preferred MICE destination.
Top five MICE Destinations in India
India has many perfect MICE destinations but listed following are just a few of the finest gems amongst them. A conference in any of the following venues will surely be an experience of a lifetime.
New Delhi – The capital of India has been the favourite MICE destination during the past few years. The charm of Delhi is in its old heritage and modern facilities that make it perfect for any business meeting or conference. There are umpteen convention centres in Delhi viz. Pragati Maidan Exhibition Complex, The Indian Habitat Centre, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to name a few. There are some five star hotels that provide world class facilities for MICE. The convention hall of the Ashok Hotel has always been a favourite venue for meetings and conferences of top business officials and government officials for over four decades. It’s a pillar-less hall spread over 16,435 sq. ft. area.
The other hotels that serve the purpose of in-house MICE facilities are The Taj Palace, Hotel Le Meridian, Hyatt Residency, etc.
Hyderabad – The pearl city of India which is also known as Istanbul of India is a riveting city and an essential part of Islamic culture of the country. This old city has some of the finest epitomes of Qutab-Shahi architecture like Charminar, Jama Masjid, and Mecca Masjid etc. The hustle-bustle of the city doesn’t stop it from being a perfect MICE destination. The Shilpkala-Vedica, a multipurpose convention centre-cum-auditorium which is the second biggest convention centre of India; the Viceroy Hotel and Convention Centre overlooking the picturesque Hussain Sagar Lake are some of the important MICE venues in Hyderabad. To host exhibitions, there is Hyderabad International Trade Expositions Limited having uber-modern facilities to host international events.
Goa – Pristine beaches, scenic blue ocean, sylvan forests, palm-swathed hills, mesmerizing islands, beautiful rivers and Indo-Portuguese architecture make Goa a beguiling MICE destination. The city-state is top-ranked for business conferences and meetings. International Center, which is located on 14 Acres of land on Taleigao Plateau at Dona Paula, Goa is an ideal venue for conferences and exhibitions. Various five-star resorts like Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, Taj Exotica, The Leela also provide world-class facilities for corporate events.
Cochin – Ranked sixth best tourist places to visit in India by Neilson Survey Company, Cochin has the highest number of national and international tourists in Kerala. The commercial hub of Kerala is also known as the Queen of Arabian Sea. This port city is set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas and it aesthetically and perfectly portrays the eclecticism of Kerala. Le Meridien Cochin Resort and Convention Centre has a splendid International convention centre with a capacity to seat approximately 1,600 people. Other venues providing up to the par facilities for MICE events in Cochin are Jewish Synagogue and a Dutch Palace.
Agra – The city of Taj Mahal, the ultimate requiem of love from a great Mughal emperor for his beloved, has been a hotspot for tourists visiting India. The Mughal capital of India, during 16th century has a lingering past which can be seen in its exceptional monuments. Taj city provides an excellent opportunity for business events. Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, a glorious structural blend of red sandstone and marble is spread over an unbounded 25 acres of gracefully landscaped greenery. The convention centre can cater the needs of approximately 1,500 guests with excellent and avant garde facilities. Hotel Mughal Sheraton, Agra has a conference centre with a seating capability of 750 people and is ideal for medium sized business events.
Pleasant surprises for MICE events in India
- State-of-the-art hotels
- Well-trained staff with fluency in English
- Well-developed airways network and world class airports
- Various pre-tour and post-tour packages to supplement or support MICE business operators.
The tentative disappointments of MICE events in India are:
- Poor road transportation
- Despite a lot of liberalization there is still a lot of red-tape to cut through.
The MICE tourism has given a new boost to the tourism industry of India and nearly 25 per cent of inbound tourism is more or less related to MICE or business tourism. During recent times the falling rupee has added to the advantages of the MICE segment in India as the cost of holding a business event in India has become a much affordable destination than other Asian countries like Singapore or Malaysia. According to various reports the BRIC countries will be the leading contenders for hosting MICE events in the next five years. This is fantastic news for India and it is up to the government to grab this opportunity especially through upgrading of infrastructure.