iMICE to be an international level event; to amplify India’s standing in sector: DG Tourism, ET TravelWorld

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<p>Representative Image </p>
Representative Image

Building upon the successes of the past surge from the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) sector, the Ministry of Tourism is now focusing on new initiatives while bringing international attention to the sector. This includes hosting the Incredible MICE (iMICE) event, which is anticipated to further elevate India‘s profile as a MICE destination.

In a candid interview with ETTravelWorld, Director-General of Tourism, Govt of India, Manisha Saxena shared that this is going to be a major, international level promotional event to be hosted by the Ministry with international buyers. While the detailed discussions will be carried out at the ICPB CIC event starting today in Gandhinagar, this event would largely aim at bolstering India’s presence in the global MICE sector, she informed.

As per the official ministry document, iMICE event, inspired by renowned global events like IMEX Frankfurt, IBTM Barcelona, and IT&CMA Thailand, will aim to spotlight various states and city bureaus, showcasing their MICE business potential and destination ecosystems. This initiative encourages states to organise similar flagship events, thereby highlighting their unique offerings to both national and international suppliers.

Also a part of recent roundtable conference discussions, Saxena added that this particular meeting was a pivotal step towards the upcoming event. The roundtable, hosted by MoT and conducted on November 30 at Bharat Mandapam, brought together CEOs and industry leaders, signaling the Ministry’s commitment to fortifying India’s standing in the MICE domain.

The roundtable witnessed the anticipation for the Incredible MICE (iMICE) event as the industry unanimously hailed the initiative as a catalyst for India’s status as a premier MICE destination. The industry stakeholders also voiced the need for strategic classification of MICE-specific hotels to streamline the sector effectively. Further, commendation was given to India’s substantial progress in MICE infrastructure, urging for continuous expansion and enhancement.

Speaking further, Saxena shared that for the year ahead, the discussions will revolve around leveraging the positive momentum garnered from hosting the G20 presidency in 56 cities and over 200 meetings. The focus now shifts to laying down new initiatives and solidifying existing ones, she asserted.

“Our aim is to catalogue the destinations used during the G20 presidency and maximise their potential by hosting a variety of events beyond conferences, such as celebrations and weddings,” she said.

The Ministry has also initiated the Meet in India campaign, which Saxena shared is already making waves on social media, and aims to attract international events to these earmarked destinations.

Additionally, the ministry is all set to act on the budget announcement of creating 50 new destinations in challenge mode across the country, involving unique concepts from states and cities. “We’ve floated challenge mode guidelines across the states considering four categories including ecotourism, culture, vibrant villages, and more. We eagerly await proposals from all states in these realms, seeking convergence with other ministries to enhance connectivity, energy efficiency and digital infrastructure,” she told ETTravelWorld.

“Our vibrant Villages program, a flagship venture of the Ministry of Home Affairs, boasts a significant number of ongoing projects, and the Ministry of Tourism plans to promote local festivals, handicrafts, and the scenic charm of approximately 662 villages in the initial phase. Crafting itineraries centered around these vibrant locales remains a priority,” she added.

Progress on the identified 55 Swadesh Darshan destinations is swift as well, said Saxena, adding that plans to unveil new experiences and plans are expected in the coming year. “The revamped Incredible India website is on the horizon, poised to become a hub for collaborative activities,” Saxena shared more.

Gujarat Tourism turns focus on MICE; to sign MoUs at CIC forum

As a prelude to the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat (TCGL) and India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) are jointly organising a three-day event, The 14th Conventions India Conclave (CIC) on the theme of “Sustainable MICE: Empowering Event Towards the USD 5 Trillion Economy” from December 7 to 9 at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. 30 exhibitors and 80 buyers will be a part of the event.

Amidst all the initiatives, sustainability remains a core focus, stressed Saxena. “We’ve placed significant emphasis on sustainability, notably through the Travel for Life program. This program, recognised at the G20 Leaders Summit, includes commitments for travelers to understand their role in responsible travel. It also encourages tourism businesses to take specific measures, such as conserving energy and water and reducing their carbon footprint. Just last month, we launched an initiative focused on ensuring safe sanitation practices. This ensures that all water usage, including flushing toilets, is directed to designated facilities, preventing environmental harm caused by improper disposal. Collaborating with the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, we plan to conduct pilot projects in select states to solidify our strategies and learn from these initiatives,” she added.

When asked about the tentative launch timeline of the long-awaited National Tourism Policy, Saxena commented that “it’s currently a work in progress.”

“While there has been some engagement with industry stakeholders, the finalisation of the policy framework is an ongoing process. For this, we’ve consistently involved industry stakeholders from time to time,” she acknowledged.

Saxena, also spoke about the importance of industry stakeholder support during her session at the ET Travel & Tourism Conclave, adding that the Ministry of Tourism has been executing methods to incorporate stakeholder input, utilising approaches such as approach papers and policy drafts. However, she emphasised that these consultations primarily operate on a broader scale and there is a need to delve deeper.

“In the realm of tourism, each destination possesses its distinctiveness, demanding tailored solutions. Product development for these unique sites hinges on identifying and maximising their inherent offerings. Recognising these individual nuances requires a granular approach, engaging local communities and collaborative partners to craft a seamless experience for tourists. This entails the cultivation of human resources like tour guides, capital investment emphasising the importance of industry stakeholder support beyond just the policy discussions,” she explained later.

Saxena was speaking on the sidelines of the 2nd edition of ET Travel & Tourism Conclave & Awards. Lauding the platform curated by ETTravelWorld, she expressed her appreciation for the conclave, particularly acknowledging ET TravelWorld’s consistent role in promoting tourism and providing insightful perspectives on the industry.

She commended the conclave edition as a “positive step forward” and a “wonderful initiative” and extended her best wishes for its success.

  • Published On Dec 7, 2023 at 04:00 PM IST

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