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Mice Tourism in India: Forward Focus

Journal of Hospitality Application and Research

Volume 4 Issue 1

Published: 2009
Author(s) Name: HAQUE S.M. IMAMUL
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Abstract

The Indian Tourism Industry has emerged as a vital sector in the process of economic development and most importantly after liberalisation that tourism industry has undergone tremendous transformation in all aspects of its growth. There has been a perceptible change of outlook in the concept, scope, nature and dimension of tourism. The concept of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) tourism is the result of globalisation and economic reforms in our country.

People have been gathering in the form of meetings since the beginning of time. Archaeologists have found primitive ruins that were used for specific gathering places by ancient tribes to discuss many topics including: hunting plans, war-time activities, crop harvesting, or the planning of community celebrations (Montgomery & Strick, 1995). Today, cities and more specifically hotels and resorts, have become a popular choice for meetings or conventions.

A meeting is “a conference, workshop, seminar, or other event designed to bring people together for the purpose of exchanging information” (Montgomery & Strick, 1995). An exposition is “an event designed to bring together purveyors of products, equipment, and services in an environment in which they can demonstrate their products and services to a group of attendees at a convention or trade show”(Rutherford, 1990). When meetings are combined with expositions, the event is called a convention (Montgomery & Strick, 1995).

Travelling to attend meetings is the primary reason for business travel. About twenty percent of all business trips are for the purpose of attending corporate meetings or conventions (Mill, 1990). The incentive travel market is one that can have a profound economic impact. The convention industry tends to attract high-spending visitors and those who make repeat visits to a destination. Researchers in Hong Kong have suggested that MICE travellers tend to stay longer at a destination and spend more than the average traveller (Hunt, 1989). A trend that began to develop several years ago is that business travellers are mixing business with pleasure. Spouses and children are accompanying the business traveller domestically and internationally, and with the availability of resort activities this usually means the visitor will stay for one or two days longer, in the hope of developing a “mini-vacation.” (Gunn, 1997; Morse & Lanier, 1992).

Various sources report that the MICE market is worth around $30 billion a year worldwide. Companies tend to choose meeting locations based upon their core business values and relative expensiveness. The incentives market is slightly more diverse with firms liable to send employees to more exotic long haul destinations. An increasing recognition that motivational programmes are important for staff retention means that the incentives market will increase in the coming years. Whilst the MICE market is expected to continue to exhibit moderate growth, it is dependent upon the prevailing economic circumstances. A confident market will lead to more meetings and incentives whilst a nervous market is liable to have the opposite effect worldwide, at least 50 million trips are taken each year for MICE purposes.

Keywords: MICE tourism, meetings

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