Good days are ahead for MICE tourism in Kerala

Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism has been evolving as an important sector in the world tourism industry. The activities of the Meetings Industry are increasingly becoming a significant element in the future growth of the global economy. It is an essential part of the spread of knowledge and professional practices, and a key factor in building better understanding and relations among different regions and cultures.

A lot of destinations are undergoing changes as they attempt to adapt themselves for competitive advantage in a bigger share of the MICE industry. As a key driver of development in tourism, it obviously generates a lot of income for the host country/state/destination and also provides employment opportunities and foreign investment.

Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala recognizes the potential of the MICE industry and is fast emerging as a preferred MICE destination. With a fine concoction of culture and natural settings, Kerala also offers state-of-the-art technology for business meetings, conferences and exhibitions to match global standards.

Amidst ravishing backwater settings, series of breathtaking tropical beaches, mist-laden, plantation hills and cities that host leading names in star hotel business; all provide some of the best venues for fabulous MICE experience in Kerala.

After the stagnation following the recent floods, Kerala tourism industry is gaining momentum, slowly but steadily. Tourism News Live has interacted with some of the market leaders in MICE tourism sector in Kerala to comment on the prospects of MICE tourism in Kerala.

Crowne Plaza, Kochi

“Kerala has its own unique offerings in terms of hospitality and tourism infrastructure. We are naturally endowed with temperate and appealing climatic conditions, with a fine array of cultural experiences, cuisine and natural surroundings to choose from including tropical beaches, backwaters to misty plantations hills and resorts,” said Shuvendu Banerjee, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Kochi.

“Nothing also compares to the dedicated and unmatched Keralite hospitality that we are synonymous for. MICE tourism is an opportunity to be explored to help us in efforts to limp back post the distress by the floods and the Nipah scare. Consistency in our efforts and the implementation of friendly policy measures  by the tourism industry backed by a support by the Centre will definitely help Kerala find its footing in the MICE segment,” added Banergee.

“January is the peak time for MICE tourism in Kerala. MICE events have been organised in Kochi since October. In December, Kochi will host several such events. However, we have high expectations about tourist inflow to attend two major MICE events associated with the medical sector with participation from across the globe,” said K P Nandakumar, Joint Director, Kerala Tourism.

While commenting on the facilities available in Crowne Plaza, Banergee said their property would be a quintessential choice for MICE and leisure travelers into the city.

“We are conveniently located on the national highway with a panoramic view of the alluring backwaters and the city. Easy access to the heart of the city and local attractions in the vicinity make us a perfect choice for travelers. Our well-appointed meeting rooms are fully-equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual technology. Distinctive indoor and outdoor event spaces are also available for meetings, cocktails, networking events, product launches and trainings. Versatile and state of the art meeting spaces, a dedicated Crowne Meetings point of contact, a promise of two-hour response for all enquiries and a team dedicated to the event success makes us the preferred meeting & banqueting destination,” said Banergee.

India has been a slow starter on the scene and we perhaps have a long way to go in terms of our infrastructure vis a vis those offered by countries abroad especially with regard to large convention spaces of global standards.

When it comes to Kerala, the state face stiff competition from other states such as Goa, Hyderabad and Karnataka who are marching ahead in the MICE segment. The MICE sector is also sensitive to local and national taxation and visa policies, regulation in capital investment and investment in the meetings marketing, community support towards potentially disruptive events and travel policy.

Kerala recognizes the potential of the MICE industry and concerted efforts are on to provide the infrastructural facilities and crucially the relaxation in the liquor ban policy is expected to help lure MICE projects to the state as it is a big impetus in driving home events by corporate houses.