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Changing Landscape of MICE Business from India

India is the 10th largest business travel market in the world. With nearly 1.5 million Indians traveling only for MICE purposes, it is emerging as one of the strongest outbound MICE markets in the world. 
 
 
With the inclination to organize such trips being on the rise, MICE requirements are growing for different sectors in the country ranging from industries such as FMCG, telecommunications and insurance to pharmaceuticals, healthcare and energy.
 
 
The MICE India and Luxury Travel Congress (MILT) organizers, QnA International, met with some of the leading corporate buyers from the country to understand the changing preferences and latest trends for MICE activities from the region. 
 
 
One of the key trends identified was the emergence of luxury destinations for MICE activities. There are more corporates who are focusing on the luxury element especially in the incentives and meetings segment when the projects are catering to the top management. “There is a growing segment of the ‘uber rich’, as a result of which, there has been and will be a significant increase in the percentage of premium travelers.” states  Sanjay Wali, Senior Vice President Sales at Godfrey Philips. 
 
 
Ajay Bhatt – AVP Admin and Facilities at Godrej Industries believes that “Meeting sizes are getting bigger — the growing demand for meetings has resulted in hotels giving preference to larger meetings capable of paying more. Good venues have to be booked well in advance. The group sizes are increasing from 100-150 to 300-500 plus.”
 
 
Technology and social media are gaining increasing importance in the MICE landscape when it comes to the Indian market. “Corporates are being more cautious on the kind of spend and technology and social media are being used to create the connecting points as well as buzz which can be cost effective and more interactive”, points out Geetha Arekal – Regional Travel Head (APAC) at Unilever Industries. 
 
 
Experiential travel’s popularity continues to grow in India with a lot of Indians focusing on experiencing a country or city by connecting to its people, culture and history.  “The trend is more of a destination which is economic in nature and also can showcase the local culture, so the global players who can be one stop solution is what is being looked at”, she added. 
 
 
Having established the strongest B2B platform in India that focuses on MICE travel from the country, these corporates represent the biggest contributors to the Indian outbound travel market and are all coming together at the 4th Annual MICE India & Luxury Travel Congress on the 28th and 29th of July 2016 at The St. Regis Mumbai, India. The MILT Congress  is set to welcome decision makers from over 100 of the top and leading corporations in India, premium destination wedding planners and biggest film production houses to meet with over 60 travel suppliers from around the world, all under one roof. 
 
 
It’s not just about the size of the groups anymore, the basis for a selection of a destination is hanging resulting in partners being sourced from a number of new destinations by Indian corporates. Subrato Sarkaar, Joint President – Corporate Administration at the Aditya Birla Group commented, “Our MICE events happen across the globe at some of the most common destinations like Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok etc. right to the upcoming venues like cities in Scandinavia, Russia, erstwhile Eastern bloc countries like Georgia etc”.
 
 
When it comes to the challenges, Ram Mehrotra – Vice President Sales & Decorative at Nerolac Paints stated, “Visa cancellations at the last moment are very difficult to handle as we land up with our dissatisfied customers. Getting bio-metrics for visa is also a hurdle due to which we shift destinations from one to another.” Flexibility from travel and hospitality partners was also identified as a major challenge for buyers who are looking for ballrooms that can accommodate large sizes of groups. 
 
 
The trends occurring in the industry are affecting the way events are being conducted, causing the MICE industry to adapt the changes rapidly. “India has a rising travel potential with it being the third fastest growing economy in the world.  The increase in demand for meetings has resulted in many foreign destinations implementing a focused strategy to target the Indian outbound MICE segment. Bringing forth the potential of this market, the MILT Congress provides a platform to the best destinations & suppliers from around the world to potentially do business with decision makers from leading corporations in India who are looking to source MICE partners for their upcoming projects.” According to Ackash Jain, Director at QnA International, the organizers of the event.  
 
 
Gold Partner: Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau
 
Silver Partners: Grecotel Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Singapore Tourism board, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa, Travel Point - Tour Oman.
 
 
Bronze Partners: Abatera Tourism, Adriatic DMC, Atout France, Atzaró, Akuqa Sun Group, Beachcomber Hotels, Business Events Sydney, Cel Tours, Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, Dusit Thani Dubai, Tourism Fiji, Fiji Airways, Figur Tourism, Five Direction Group, Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation, IMT Travel Services, ITL World, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Lausanne Tourisme, Istanbul Marriott Hotel Sisli, Tourism New Zealand, Nimbus Travel, RAK Tourism, Rixos Sungate, Rodos Palace Hotel, Rosewood Hotel Group, Tourism Office of Spain, Spice Hotel & Spa, South African National Convention Bureau, Sun International, Sun Siyam Resorts, Al Tayyar Travel Group, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Tourism Toronto, Zurich Tourism.

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