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Business News/ Companies / News/  ‘Meetings, events, conference travel outpacing business travel’
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‘Meetings, events, conference travel outpacing business travel’

The sector has experienced substantial growth in 2023 compared to 2022, with manufacturing, BFSI, and pharma sectors leading the way

Large convention halls and facilities in India are expected to attract major events and drive business at the diplomatic level. The MICE industry in India has the potential to generate billions of dollars in revenue each year.Premium
Large convention halls and facilities in India are expected to attract major events and drive business at the diplomatic level. The MICE industry in India has the potential to generate billions of dollars in revenue each year.

New Delhi: As business travel bounces back around the world, India has become an outlier in terms of domestic business travel. Interestingly, it is the meetings, events and conferences travel or MICE travel segment which is growing faster than business travel, say companies operating in the space. This includes travel within India as well as meetings and incentive programmes that companies from here host abroad.

According to one business that handles large ticket conglomerates in the manufacturing, and information technology and services sectors, on a year-on-year basis from January-June 2023 versus 2022, business travel on an aggregate level has soared by about 120% due to the high demand from corporates in Asian markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and India.

India managing director for FCM travel Gaurav Luthra, said their meetings and events business is outpacing the other parts of the segment. “We have had our best year yet when it comes to meetings and conferences and at least doubled our revenue in this segment and seen a 60% growth when compared to the pre-covid year of 2019," he said.

In terms of sectors, FCM has seen that manufacturing, BFSI and pharma sectors have grown robustly this year as compared to 2022. However, the IT and ITeS sectors in terms of travel are yet to make a full recovery.

India now has large-sized convention halls such as the recently inaugurated International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) in Delhi as well as The Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai, which are expected to drive large incentives like the G20 and other diplomatic events in the coming years. The Ambani-owned centre in Mumbai, for instance, has already hosted about 800 events in the previous fiscal year of FY23. Of this, exhibitions accounted for 35% and 15% of the center’s business came from corporate and social events.

“Some of these facilities that India now has are at par with the best in the globe. The Indian government can drive a lot of business at the diplomatic level and bring large ticket events to India," said Sabina Chopra, co-founder and COO of online travel agency The travel agency said it expects to grow its corporate business at a 25% CAGR for the next 3-5 years. Its revenue increase is mainly driven by a strong recovery in the corporate travel business which has surpassed pre-covid numbers.

Another big player, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. has seen a growth of 289% in the calendar year January-June over the same period in 2022 and a 24% increase over 2019 in its MICE business. It has managed about 200 groups sized between 100-2500 delegates in the last financial year with corporates spending over 3-5 lakh per person in some of the premium groups.

“MICE travel has now become a year-round activity," Meera Charnalia, executive vice president and head of the category for the business told Mint. The company said since it is a partner for the G20 summit, its team has been contracted to manage approximately 33% of the overall business and has already managed 35 events in 28 cities.

While there is no official estimate on how big the events business in and out of India is, a good data set to consider is the domestic growth rate of the airline industry. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s estimates between January and March 2023 showed a 51.7% year-on-year passenger growth domestically.

According to a report by the government, ‘Nation Strategy for MICE Industry 2022’, the exhibition industry in India was growing at a rate of over 8% in the past few years outpacing the GDP growth rate of the country. The trade fair sector in India is estimated to be 23,800 crore by way of economic impact generated through the organized sector and the sector generates 3 lakh crore worth of business through exhibitions held in the country. India now has over 25 purpose-built venues in the country for hosting exhibitions.

These estimates suggest that the MICE industry is a significant contributor to the economy and has a potential to generate billions of dollars in revenue each year.

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Varuni Khosla
Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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Updated: 03 Aug 2023, 11:56 PM IST
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