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Bahrain roadshow ropes in Indian MICE agents

A treasure trove of ancient sites and urban entertainment, Bahrain offers a cornucopia of pleasures that would delight an Indian tourist.  From camel rides and boat rides to motor sports and indoor skydiving, the Pearl of the Gulf packs in a memorable experience for the discerning Indian traveler.

Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority (BTEA) recently conducted a roadshow in Chennai and Bangalore to rope in more stakeholders from India to promote MICE movements. The response to these roadshows has been positive as they witnessed participation from enthusiastic travel agents and tour operators from both cities.

Sunil Mathapati, Country Manager of BTEA, is optimistic that Bahrain will emerge as the most preferred destination for MICE movements.

“Bahrain has always been a three-nighter destination. Therefore, MICE is the right market for which we want to go. As Bahrain has all the elements required for the MICE movement, namely the hotels, venues, and activities, we are looking at tapping this market in a very big way,” he said. He added that as Bahrain offers seamless connectivity, easy visa rules, and luxurious hotels and venues, it would be the most sought-after MICE destination.

In an effort to rope in more Indian stakeholders to promote MICE movements, BTEA is planning to hold more interactive activities. “We ideally want to have a one-on-one meeting with MICE agents, understand their requirements, and answer all their questions, be it relating to a product launch or a conferencing facility,” he said.

The roadshows have been advantageous for BTEA as they served as a platform for tour operators and travel agents to know the destination better and understand what kind of experiences it can offer. The hospitality of the people of Bahrain, the support given by the ministry in terms of visas, and the luxurious facilities offered at the hotels and venues were discussed during the roadshow.

With its state-of-the-art-infrastructure, Bahrain is all set to host big weddings. “We have six weddings confirmed from October till April 2019,” said Mathapati.

Yousef Mohammed Alkhan, Director of Tourism Marketing & Promotion, BTEA, said that Bahrain has a good relationship with the Indian government. “We work closely with tour operators and other stakeholders where we see a potential for a lot of MICE movements. At the roadshow in Chennai, we received a lot of interesting queries. Besides wedding venues, we received queries on some proposals from movies from South India to come and film in Bahrain. We look forward to visiting more Indian cities,” he said, adding that a new exhibition and conference facility that encompasses 100,000 sqm of exhibiting space is being built. This facility will have over 30,000 sqm of convention and conference space. “This will be the biggest convention center in the region. We believe that we can house a large number of MICE groups coming to Bahrain,” said Alkhan.


Bali Mandira Beach Resort & Spa enters India market

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Bali Mandira Beach Resort & Spa has entered the India market through a market representation agreement with INDIA SALES ASSOCIATES, the Hotels’ Marketing & consultancy firm for the Indian Subcontinent.

“Regarded as a Classic Balinese resort with modern facilities, this is an Oceanfront paradise in Bali, Indonesia. Expansive green landscape in 5 acres, overlooking a white sandy beach and panoramic ocean views are the setting for a relaxing holiday in the most beautiful surroundings. Bali Mandira Beach Resort & Spa is located within close proximity to all that Legian and Seminyak are famous for, excellent shopping, traditional art markets, trendy restaurants, and thriving beach clubs,” said Manas Sinha, Director, INDIA SALES ASSOCIATES. Its perfect location between Kuta and Seminyak, the vast range of on-property facilities and impeccable service makes it a highly attractive choice for families, couples and also for MICE and special groups. Led by one of Bali’s most celebrated chef, the resort is geared to serve the authentic Indian cuisine and Jain meals, aside from the wide variety of International and Indonesian cuisine.”

With well-appointed accommodation, delectable dining, rejuvenating spa therapies, and pristine beaches, Bali Mandira offers a blend of Bali’s beautiful natural splendor with a vibrant theatre of music, dance, culture and world-class facilities to ensure a truly wonderful stay for every guest.

Bali Mandira Beach Resort & Spa features 187 units of variety stay options from large Superior rooms to Deluxe Cottages, Deluxe Club cottages & suites, Mandira Club Suite to Pool Club Villas (with private pools). Aside from the club lounge, it boasts of 4 different restaurants and bar. Three pools – family pool with sunken bar, adults only pool, and separate children pool with water slides and a large kids club. The rooftop meeting & conference facilities provide unmatched sunset view and the ‘Glow Spa’ provides a range of massages and treatments by skilled professional therapists. The resort has multiple wedding venues to cater to 200 to 400 guests. In addition, the resort offers various in-house complimentary activities, including free scuba-diving and surfing lessons, yoga sessions etc.

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MICE contributes to 28.5% of Indian arrivals to South Africa

South Africa expects to garner 1.04 lakh tourists from India in 2018.


Photo: Unsplash

The Indian outbound market, which comprises 25 million tourists at present, is all set to double by 2020 according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). South Africa expects to garner 1.04 lakh tourists from India in 2018 alone. South Africa, because of the healthy economy and rapidly growing international trade, has seen an upsurge of business travelers from India, who have notched up their length of stay from 14 to 19 days. They have also seen a spike in the number of MICE travelers to South Africa. It’s interesting to note that for the period of 2017, MICE contributed to 28.5% of total Indian arrivals.

Digital advances are, quite literally, changing the world. Technology has changed how we connect and inform ourselves. It has encouraged innovation and made the world a smaller, well-connected place. This has trickled and made its way across sectors, including tourism. It is hence not surprising that the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) elected ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation’ to be the global theme this World Tourism Day. The UNWTO promotes travel facilitation as a means to boost economic growth around the world. “Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment, and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a statement.

Echoing the sentiment in India, Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – Middle East, India, South East Asia, South African Tourism said, “Tourism boards are now strategically harnessing technology to innovatively promote their destination to potential travelers. In order for us to effectively reach our target audience, it is essential for us at South African Tourism to vividly bring alive the locations and experiences through virtual mediums. An apt reflection of our efforts would be the Google Street View initiative launched in November 2017, through which travelers are brought closer to our renowned national parks and reserves by accurate visual representation. These virtual initial experiences drive audience curiosity and bring alive the destination to potential visitors thus resulting in travel conversions. Indian travelers today, mostly millennials, rely heavily on social interaction for recommendations when considering a new destination and activities for their voyage – we at South African Tourism realize this. To tap into the pulse of this growing traveler segment, we forayed into the world of social media in 2017 with a dedicated Facebook page, specially customized for the India market. We also launched our Instagram India handle early in 2018. In fact, South African Tourism is one of the very few international tourism boards in India to have a standalone digital presence in the market.”




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Seoul grabs 40 international conference wins in 2018

In 2017, Seoul successfully secured 42 international conferences with a total of 30,325 participants.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

From January to October 2018, Seoul successfully secured 40 international conferences, which is estimated to bring more than 35,000 international delegates to the city over the coming years. Of the 40 international conferences, 12 are considered large-scale conferences (i.e., conferences with more than 1,000 delegates), which account for approximately 25,000 international delegates.

According to the Union of International Associations (UIA), International Meetings Statistics Report published this past June, Seoul was the third most popular international meetings city from 2015 to 2017.

During 2017, Seoul successfully secured 42 international conferences with a total of 30,325 participants. Of these conferences, there were 11 large-scale meetings with more than 1,000 delegates, accounting for 18,500 participants.

In 2018, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Convention Bureau, a division of the Seoul Tourism Organization, secured the approximately 3,000-delegate American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Innovation in Oncology Symposium 2020 this past August, and the World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2021, beating out candidate cities Tokyo, Japan, and Greater Noida, India this past June. The World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2021, a conference that brings together more than 2,000 ob-gyn doctors and scholars, will be the first edition held in Korea and the third to be held in Asia.

Table: International Conference Wins and Participant Figures for Seoul (2015-2018)


Year International Conference Wins Number of Participants Number of International Participants
2015 28 32,450 24,300
2016 31 41,690 23,990
2017 42 30,325 30,325
2018 (as of October) 40 35,000 35,000


Other major international conferences coming to Seoul include the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Asia Pacific Conference 2020 (2,000 participants), the IVV Olympiad 2021 (5,000 participants), the Institute of Electronic Engineers, Inc.’s International Conference on Communications 2022 (2,000 participants), the Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) Congress 2021 (1,000 participants), and the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) (1,000 participants).

The Seoul Metropolitan Government credits joint marketing and bidding with members of the Seoul MICE Alliance (SMA), a public-private partnership between the city of Seoul and 299 companies in the MICE industry, for recent conference wins. This past March, the Korean Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Seoul Tourism Organization, and Coex Convention & Exhibition Center presented a bid proposal at the London headquarters of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Impressed by Seoul’s group effort, the board of directors announced that Seoul would be the destination for the 2021 conference this past June.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government’s director-general of the Tourism & Sports Bureau, Joo Yong-Tae, said: “Global attention thanks to the inter-Korean summits and the growing power of Hallyu (the Korean pop culture wave) appear to be having a positive impact on preference for Seoul as a meetings destination.” He added, “With the announcement of Seoul’s world top-three ranking as a meetings city, Seoul will strengthen its joint marketing with SMA members to attract even more international conferences.”

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