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Mr. Gour Kanjilal - Professional being, Developing Tourism in India from Outside India
Promoting MICE Tourism: Need of the hour
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    Gour Kanjilal

    MICE market in India is growing. More people are traveling to India for business since the opening of Indian economy in 1991. Even the India Tourism offices overseas put a greater emphasis now on to promote MICE segment over leisure as this ensures volume and increased revenue. It is estimated that 25% of the overall tourist arrival s in India could be from MICE segment. But other national tourist offices located in India are doing MICE businesses from India mainly highlighting direct air connectivity proximity and infrastructure to host mega events along with incentive to have the clients. Singapore , Thailand , Malaysia have been able to attract huge chunk of the Indian MICE market. Germany is also trying to take Indian clients & planning strategies & have developed synergies with Indian travels agents lufthansa Airlines is also playing a leading role to boost MICE segment. Dubai is doing a very good business and over 500,000 visitors (approx) from India had visited Dubai for MICE purpose. Even Macau , Switzerland , China , Spain have kept an eye on India . MICE is thus a very niche product & need to market each components in a focused manner Hotel, Transport Entertainment, Shopping, Joint Marketing Promotions and what special one can be given on offer as value additions.

    There is no hard and fast rule to follow how to attract MICE clients. The essential is to form a proper team with Airlines, Hotels, Transport People, Cultural organizations, boutiques and reach to the target markets MNC's who have MICE business clients and showcase the products. Direct marketing pays more result than just advertisements. Mice promoters generally target banks, automobiles & aviation industry, consumer durables construction organization, Rail bodies, pharmaceuticals, departmental store chains, and I.T companies- They have year round MICE business to offer. Reach with competitive packages for business travelers & reach major cities is the success norm. In these respects, Thailand , Dubai , Singapore , Malaysia are very aggressive. Thailand convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) Singapore Exhibition and convention bureau, Department of Tourism and commerce marketing, Dubai , Malaysian Tourist MICE hold regular road shows in major metro cities in India . They earmark, budget for this purpose followed by ... in print & electronic media.

    These countries network cover all of India which include new cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore Hyderabad, Amritsar , Bhubneshwar which were earlier thought can not give MICE business. They are continually eyeing on new cities that have potential. They have created low cost niche as the triumph card. On the contrary in India , we cold not do that much of aggressive marketing like others NTO's are doing. Though India offers exceptional growth opportunities but there are inherent lacunae that do not allow its rapid growth. One is the lack of convention facilities & followed by pricing. Now even safety and security of tourists is being talked as in this business, top business people of high value participate and security is the main concern.

    The hotel must give the best available price and value ad-ons. Also other lucrative offers in wellness and spa ad additions. Room rate should be lucrative for the clients. Similarly airlines must offer competitive price specially national carrier. The tour operator must explore new markets & not depend only in UK or U.S.A. The promoters must carry out a comparative analysis of competitors price before announcing their packages. Be sensitive to market should be demand the main consideration. The time is ripe now. Due to greater visibility of India in the global markets, thanks to "Incredible India" campaign, not only have India Tourism offices overseas open offices in for partnership in boosting two way traffic with local Government offices. The need of the hour is to allow visa on arrivals for MICE- VIP groups as perused by many countries who promoted MICE as this has huge status symbol. MICE segment can include Buddhists circuits as Ministry of Tourism had invested a lot to develop these circuits and exclusively is also there also the price part is acceptable now in Buddhists circuits that ... Well for MICE.

    Singapore, Thailand , China , Burma , Sri Lanka , Vietnam can be good market for Buddhists circuits. Now Kashmir is open and hold good potential to attract business traffic from the gulf & the Middle East and even South East Asia . Focused promotional brochures audio-visual presentations are essential for marketing by our overseas offices who will partner with Indian tour operators, overseas operators and airlines and provide the platform for business transactions by doing P.R with Incentive houses overseas. One has to keep in mind, that the clients for MICE are seasoned tourist and they are very demanding. So be prepared and offer only specialized tours which they can't get in any other destinations, and keep it for a limited days. Also these clients love to indulge in a variety of experiences including fine dinning, cultural shows, soft adventure, sight seeing, shopping and fun. As most of the expenses are company paid they seek the best. The products should be out of the ordinary. With higher margin in this type of market, our tour operators are now actively persuing this segment clients offering Island holidays, golfing holidays, Farm House / Tea Garden tours etc. as unique experience. Thanks to Ministry's efforts to promote MICE segment in a big way where there is regular exposure of the convention facilities, bidding etc. which are being done through Indian Convention Promotion Bureau. I.C.P.B. They are also present at various MICE events overseas as a team with specialized tour operators and event management team. Hotels have special team for MICE marketing. Also airlines are now conscious of this segment who can provide business even during economic downturn as business people need to travel all the year round.

    Better air connectivity is now in India 's favours tour operators are in discussion with overseas carriers to form alliances for MICE business. Given the huge growth potential, India Tourism is moving at the right direction by focusing MICE holidays in India . Conventionally yours now the key message for boosting MICE Tourism and ..the downturn during economic recession.

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