June 16, 2024
India Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market

India Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market: The Growing Impact of MICE Tourism in India

Emergence of India Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market as a major industry

The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism sector has seen tremendous growth in India over the past decade. With improving infrastructure such as convention centres, airports and hotels, India is gradually emerging as a favoured MICE destination in Asia. The sector is growing at a rate of over 15% annually and is estimated to be worth over Rs. 200 billion currently. Several factors such as growing economy, young population, infrastructure development and government support have contributed to the rapid growth of MICE tourism in India.

World-class convention centres attract major events

India today boasts of world-class integrated convention centres in major cities that can host events of any scale. Centres like Bombay Exhibition Centre, Pragati Maidan and BIEC in Bengaluru have hosted numerous international conferences, exhibitions, product launches and corporate events in recent years. These centres are well-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities like spacious exhibition halls, massive auditoriums, meeting rooms, banquet halls, business centres and accommodation. As a result, India Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market has been able to attract many prestigious international associations to hold their annual congresses and conventions. For example, the International Astronautical Congress was held in Hyderabad in 2017 and attracted over 4,000 delegates from 65 countries.

Rise of new destinations outside metros

Beyond the major metro cities which have traditionally hosted MICE events, numerous new destinations have emerged across India in the past 5 years. Cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Kochi, Guwahati, Shirdi, Visakhapatnam etc. have developed world-class integrated MICE infrastructure. They offer venues with natural beauty as well as heritage, local culture and cuisine which international delegates find unique and refreshing. Destinations in the Himalayan states like Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim are also gaining traction for incentive tours and meetings focused on wellness. This increasing geographic spread has allowed MICE planners more options to craft customised experiences for their clientele away from crowded metro cities.

Low costs make India an attractive India Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Market

Compared to other Asian destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, India offers significantly lower costs for hosting events and managing delegate expenses. On an average, the overall expenditure on an international conference held in India works out to be 30-40% lower than similar events held elsewhere in Asia. This is a major attraction for several associations, corporates as well as academic and research institutions to choose India as their preferred MICE destination. The wide range of budget accommodation options, reasonably priced venues, skilled yet affordable local manpower and subsidies offered by state governments help keep MICE costs competitive. However, India will need to continually improve its transportation links and digital connectivity to remote destinations to retain this cost advantage over time.

Government initiatives to boost infrastructure

In recognition of MICE tourism’s potential for employment generation and economic growth, the Indian government has been allocating increased funds and announcing specific initiatives to develop infrastructure in this sector. Most state governments now provide subsidies and tax waivers to host international as well as domestic conventions, exhibitions and incentive tours. At the central level, projects like the India Convention Promotion Bureau and MICE Tourism Promotion Fee Waiver Scheme encourage international associations to hold their events in India. The proposed National MICE Policy will further focus on developing hub airports, highways, railway links and digital connectivity required to enhance India’s competitive prowess as a global MICE destination.

Opportunities for Indian service providers

With the rapid growth of MICE business volumes, new income opportunities have opened up for Indian service and solution providers in this industry. Travel agencies, event management companies, weddings planners, culinary experts, audio visual vendors, florists are in high demand for planning and executing diverse client requirements. According to industry associations, over 100,000 people are directly employed by the MICE industry in India currently. Emerging technology solutions around virtual meetings, artificial intelligence and data analytics are also gaining application in areas like delegate management, scheduling and yield optimisation. As the sector continues to expand, MICE entrepreneurship will play a key role in skilling local talent and generating wealth as well as employment across India.
Going forward, India is expected to remain one of the fastest growing MICE markets globally over the next 5 years. Growing corporate spend on conferences, retreats and incentive tours, emergence of niche verticals like medical tourism conventions, e-sports events, rise of tier II cities and integrated resorts point towards a very bright future for this sector.

Health and safety protocols established post pandemic have made India one of the safest MICE destinations as well. By 2025, the Indian MICE industry could potentially be worth over Rs. 500 billion with international arrivals for such purposes touching 1 million annually. Backed by a young population, India offers an unparalleled consumer market for global B2B interactions and remains one of the top choices for international MICE planners going forward.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it