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CONFERENCES & INCENTIVES

India’s mega-meeting infrastructure gets going…at last!

micepoint MICE tourism India

Are we in India ready for holding Monster conventions? The clear answer is a very loud no. India, if one considers the competing destinations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Indonesia, and China have lost more opportunities to bid for Mega Conferences than others purely on the reasons of being infrastructurally challenged. Living in a country the venerable Maha Kumbh where over at least a crore people congregate once every twelve years is considered an event only the gods can play the ultimate event organizer; mere mortals are left to create an infrastructure regime that seems to fall apart at every second turn! An estimated USD 280 Billion of marketspace out there and we don’t seem to have a will to create a half decent Mega Convention Centre out here! All this is about to change with the Government’s putting money where their mouths are to upgrade existing pre-historic venues and commit to a new mega greenfield Convention and Exhibition Centre in Delhi.

The Government of India, in all its sudden burst of enlightenment, have finally harped upon creating the country’s largest Exhibition and Conference showcase. With a primetime investment of USD 4 Billion, the ‘India International Convention & Exhibition Centre (IICC)’, occupying an area about half the size of Bangalore’s Lal Bagh. The venue is expected to play host to marquis events such as the G-20 Summit. GoI’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is implementing the project and will be operated by South Korea’s Korea International Exhibition Centre (KINTEX) and eSANG Networks. Thankfully, with the Government deciding on partners such as L&T and Korea’s KINTEX to execute and operate the venue, this will be the gamechanger and catapult India into the world of Mega 20,000 plus delegate conferences. The venue is expected to have a massive exhibition space of 200,000 Square Metre and a 60,000 Square Metre in meetings and conventions space. The venue will also include 3,500 hotel rooms for delegates. Also, the multi-purpose arena in the venue will have a seating capacity of around 20,000 people. The complex will have a 30,000-vehicle car parking.

The Indian Convention & Exhibition Industry’s grand old lady ‘Pragati Maidan’ is poised to get a make-over and being redeveloped into a world-class Integrated Exhibition Cum Convention Centre (IECC) at a cost of Rs. 2254 Crores and the first phase expected to open by May 2019. The project will be updated to 1.19 lakh square meters of exhibition space against the present 65,000 and will get a Convention Centre for 7,000 people. The venue will also include a hotel complex to be built on a 3.7-acre plot within. Presently run by the ‘India Trade Promotion Organization’ which wear any hats such as an Exhibition Organizer, a trade body and venue manager all rolled into one. Hopefully, this will change its domain as the multiple ‘conflict of interest’ purporter! Changing times sure needs a more professional and expert set-up, than the current management practice who are living ‘sublime nirvana’ since the early 1970s.

India as a host and a probably the world’s most diverse destination backed with a growing economic might will ensure business opportunities seldom seen in the region. The past hubris against mega projects especially in aid of the tourism industry has died down. Convention Centres such as this will fuel a complete eco-system that generations will thank.

Was indeed surprised to note the Government’s initiative to use the building of Convention centers across 21 African Nations as to further the growing diplomatic connect. Who would have thought about a few years back, that India would actually recognize the Convention Centre industry as a sunrise industry!

Asia accounts for a mere 14.3% of the Meetings market in the world and, and India’s share accounts for just 4.9%. In comparison, China accounts for 68% of the Asian share in MICE business and trails only the US in the market globally. In terms of Meeting infrastructure, China has 92 purpose-built exhibition sites spread over three million square meters. India has just 12 exhibition venues that occupy barely 2.6 lakhs Square Metre of space. India is 40% of China in terms of the size of the economy, but in the exhibition’s infrastructure sphere, we are only 9 percent of what China does. Germany on the other extreme has over three million square meters of exhibition space, which considering India’s exhibition industry, is on a different planet altogether!

With longer gestation periods, no Convention Centres make money on the quick run. It is the City Municipal Corporation, to ensure, we create world-class convention facilities. With increased footfalls, increased tax revenues and adding a new employment engine, the city eventually benefits more! The Indian industry, irrespective their sectors, and verticals need quality meeting infrastructure. The current ‘Make in India’ mania is useless if we do not have avenues to display and exhibit to a global audience. Any place, which houses an airport should have a minimum 30,000 square feet of multi-use Convention Centre as part of the City’s infrastructure.

The advent of International Exhibition companies into India has got the industry tremendous respect and enhanced its professionalism. With the marked increase in the number of stakeholders using the exhibition medium, the industry is only poised to grow! As much it will benefit the allied services such as the hospitality, car rental and travel industry, the industry across various sectors are deemed to be the primary beneficiary.

When the global exhibition and trade-show industry is a USD 65 Billion industry with over 31,000 major events taking place and the Indian space is estimated to be worth at Rs. 65,000 Crores with over 700 shows, how can the Indian travel-industry be far behind! The ‘Indian Convention Promotion Bureau’ states ‘Of a total of 8,294 events tracked, India has a market share of 1.1% (Asia & Middle East has 19.5% share) with an estimated size of the MICE industry in India around Rs 4,000 – 5,500 crores. Still a minuscule part of a global market space of over USD 65 Billion!

Even cities like Mumbai and Delhi have no world-class event facilities. Making do with present Event infrastructure and current permissions and license regime required to organize trade-fairs is time-consuming and a sure dampener. The industry should demand a single window agency as procedures are getting more tedious than ever before. Venues should assist in permissions and here the efforts of Chennai Trade Centre are adulatory!

Being part of the Travel Event industry, it is quite mandatory for us to be at various events across the world. The quality of the event infrastructure had always been a point of envy. Most International travel events across the world also enjoy tremendous patronage from the National Tourist Organization and Government bodies, which they see as a booster to their economy and the sure wind beneath their wings!

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CONFERENCES & INCENTIVES

OYO UAE reports double-digit growth in MICE visitors in 2019

OYO Hotels & Homes, South Asia’s largest, has seen a double-digit percentage rise in trade visitors within the MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector within the first two months of 2019. The company is currently one of China’s top five, and the world’s fastest-growing chain of leased and franchised hotels, homes and living spaces. OYO established its footprint in the UAE in the first half of 2018 and has already served close to 120,000 guests from 80 plus countries in 20+ hotels located across five Emirates and 40 homes in Dubai. OYO currently manages 1300+ exclusive rooms across Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al-Khaimah, Fujairah and Ajman.

As per reports, the trade exhibition industry in Dubai saw over 500,000 visitors last year in addition to the regular leisure tourists.

“We have observed a significant increase in trade visitors since the start of 2019 due to the busy events and exhibitions sector in UAE. Dubai’s MICE industry is currently growing at a rapid pace and leads in several aspects when compared to other global MICE hubs such as the US, UK, Europe and the Far East. On the other hand, we are confident of also seeing a spike due to the highly active sports industry,”said Manu Midha, Regional Head, Middle East, OYO Hotels & Homes.

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CONFERENCES & INCENTIVES

SITE conference to focus on diversity, innovation

In a little less than a month, Incentive Travel professionals from around the globe will convene for Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Global Conference at the stunning Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference themed, Incentivising Diversity and Innovation, highlights how business innovation and success stem from a wholehearted embrace of diversity.

Every aspect of the conference – education, evening events, tours, and CSR  – will engage the richness of the Thai culture with a keen focus on the revitalization and innovation demonstrated by the Chao Phraya River Alliance. In a voyage of discovery, delegates will move out of the classroom to explore the Bangkok River Creative District and connect with artistic movers and shakers who are certain to inspire a fresh approach to business.

Artist Phil Hansen will headline the conference with a riveting story of how he learned to “embrace the shake” and turn a potentially career-ending tremor in his drawing hand into a new impetus for creativity. Hansen will share how he embraced his “shake”, both physically and metaphorically, by redefining his limitation as an impetus for creativity. Upon sharing his message on the TED stage and to millions thereafter, “Embrace the Shake” has become a motto for many businesses to approach their limitations in a new way.

During the conference SITE will launch ‘The Bangkok Manifesto,’ a series of key statements that capture a new, emerging vision and mission for Incentive Travel in the year to come. The inaugural manifesto will be developed by an invited group of key influencers and the final text will be crowdsourced with the entire assembly during the closing session of the conference. The manifesto will be a key theme throughout the eleven months that follow, providing a platform for ongoing discussion, education, and advocacy.

“SITE Global Conference brings together the widest possible spectrum of incentive travel professionals working across all regions of the world. Commencing with Bangkok, SITE will leverage our treasure trove of global thought leadership to create The SITE Manifesto, unique qualitative annual insights into the future of incentive travel, named each year after the destination in which it is co-crafted,” said SITE CEO Didier Scaillet, CIS, CITP.

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