UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL – 8th Conventions India Conclave (CIC)

A groundbreaking conference of more than 350 prominent MICE Industry leaders, PCO’s, Suppliers, Conference Planners, Buyers and Government officials from the Ministry of Tourism gathered in Greater Noida last week to discuss the potential of MICE industry in India and a way forward.

The theme this year was “Unleashing the Potential” with a focus on “Marketing, Networking and Skill Development” in the MICE sector. The Conclave was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Department of Tourism, Government of Madhya Pradesh as Partner State and also Gujarat Tourism as Diamond Sponsor. The hospitality and tourism industry of NCR, Greater NOIDA actively supported the Conventions India Conclave – 2015.

Mr. Suman Billa – Joint Secretary Tourism & Chairman ICPB, mentioned about the need of destination level promotion bureaus to come up for positioning India as one of the top MICE destinations in the world. We should have state level tourism bureaus, who along with national tourism bureau will go together and pitch for large conferences.

In his opening speech, he stated that if we want India to be a world class MICE destination, we all need to come together to make it happen. The MICE infrastructure in the country has been developing rapidly and convention hotels and conference venues of international standards are being set up in cities across the country. With the corresponding expansion in the network of airline operations, India is ready to position and market itself as an important MICE destination. He said, “With all these changes, 5 years from now we will be looking at this industry differently” but for this we all need to drive the change and ramp up our existing infrastructure.

The first day of the conference featured a panel discussion on the Evolution of MICE in India. The speakers and panellists were the known faces from the industry like Rajeev Kohli, Philip Logan and Saurabh Bhargava. They spoke about the importance of social media, infrastructure, services and a cohesive approach to promote MICE tourism in India.

“If you want to win a big conference, you all have to come together”,  said Saurabh Bhargava.

Rajeev Kohli highlighted opportunities social media can provide in reaching a broad audience and connecting the industry. He said, “Social media is trending strongly in the MICE industry across the world, organisers are using it effectively to promote their events”.

Continuing with the discussions on skill development, attracting talent and developing middle management in MICE industry, the panellist Mr. Shyam Nagpal said “there is lack of professional training in the field” which needs to be addressed immediately. Priti Khanna – Chairman MCI showed a clipping from UK’s got talent and endorsed the fact that learning is a continuous process. She emphasized the need to have the Certified Meeting Planners.

Panellists of “Bidding for International Congresses” talked about how bidding should be more streamlined & a body like ICPB should be in the lead for bidding rather than individuals going for it. It was also suggested to invest in a separate brand for MICE; we should not just rely on “Incredible India”. Conference & Exhibition businesses are big and they bring a lot of money to the economy of our country. Business traveller spends 4 to 5 times more than an average tourist. The NRI’s and eminent personalities should endorse India as a preferred destination for conferences.

This was the first time ICPB had invited “Exhibition industry professionals”. There were deliberations on “Exhibition Infrastructure in India – Demand v/s Supply gaps. Capt. Swadesh Kumar- Vice Chairman ICPB promised to involve the exhibition industry in the future more actively. The industry felt that there should be a larger presentation of all stake holders from all the segments of M.I.C.E to form a bigger lobby to get their issues addressed with the government.

Since the convention venue – India Expo Mart was the partner venue for 8th CIC, the stake holder from Greater Noida authorities were specially invited to showcase the facilities in the city and how it is emerging as the Next MICE destination. Mr. Sudeep Sarcar – GM of IEML reflected on the fact that sustained synergic efforts from different departments of Govt. – like district administration & police etc. have significantly contributed in making IEML as a preferred choice for MICE Industry.

Dr. Pritender Singh – IPS, senior Suprintendent of Police, Gautam Budh Nagar, UP was proud of numerous successful events that have been held in Greater Noida.

Mr. N.P. Singh displayed his dynamism by being receptive, flexible, cooperative & supportive. He said, we not only facilitate the events, we act like “Host” of the events thus making the organised feel at home. He also informed the work on the metro line connecting Noida to Greater Noida has already started.

The highlight of the convention was a discussion on some of the issues which are affecting the MICE industry and hampering its growth. The panelists consisted Capt. Swadesh Kumar- Vice Chairman ICPB, Ms. Monimita Sarkar- Managing Director KW Conferences, Mr. Chander Mansharamani- Managing Director Alpcord Travel Network and Mr. Aashish Gupta- Founder StrategyPluto.

This was an open forum for members of the audience to interact with the panellists on key issues impacting international conferences and exhibitions.

  • India is getting very bad PR from delegates who are attending meetings here in India because of the complex visa process. In addition to the 6 PRC countries delegates from various countries are facing a challenge. Problems which arise is also because staff at the consulates are not always thoroughly briefed about the requirement. Our suggestion would therefore be to do away with the conference visa which was started as late as 2008
  • Different states have different process and requirements – eg. Mumbai which requires organisers to pay the Govt Of Maharastra 25% of the sponsorship proceeds. This is a major hurdle when international associations are considering India as a congress destination. We need standardised State protocols which can be easily adhered to.
  • What are some of the measures that Govt has to take in order to promote Business Tourism – this encompasses association meetings, corporate meetings & exhibition. The need for govt to interact more closely with this sector, so govt initiatives such as “Make in India’ can be promoted. Need for more alignment between govt and the industry.
  • Joint initiative between govt and the MICE industry and India as a Business Meetings destination needs to be aggressively promoted.
  • What kind of subventions would be attractive to associations and corporates looking to bring their meetings to India? can India introduce a promotional offer (for meetings confirmed to india between 1 Jan 2016 – 31 December 2017) the govt will make a financial based on the number of international participants (no less than 400 internationals)

“There is a need for aggressive measures by the Central and State Governments to boost business tourism to conventions and exhibitions”, said Capt. Swadesh Kumar. He presented some of the below recommendations on behalf of members of India Convention Promotion Bureau to the Government for promoting MICE Tourism more aggressively.


  • Undertake the formulation of a structured ICPB Vision & Strategy document 2020 – Indian MICE- Next stop 1%
  • Ask the ministry to create Create a sub- brand under Incredible India Brand called for e.g. “Incredible Meetings & exhibitions – India . … enlightening, entertaining , energising…India your intellectual meeting hub.
  • Ask each state to showcase 3 fully integrated MICE destinations of excellence linked to the country mice brand as defined above,
  • Create through ICPB a live dynamic website & booking engine showcasing , by destination all inventory, all past MICE events, all PCO with their credentials & upcoming MICE events by destination, with links to respective members.
  • Create destination wise and verticals wise highest quality brochures with one page case study on each event through a global quality compendium and explore how it can be sponsored by ministry of commerce or IBEF.
  • Ask Ministry of Tourism to request global indian icons to showcase indian mice as Brand ambassador such as “Satya Nadella – Microsoft , Puneet – Deloitte , Anshu Jain – Deutsch bank, Indra Nooyi – pepsi, , Dr. Naresh Trehan, Moorthy, Sanjay Gupta – CNN, Sania Mirza, Amitabh Bachman, Rakesh – Reckitt Benckiser, Vikram Pandit – Citibank. They can say, “I am an Indian & I love holding my meetings, events & get togethers in India”
  • Undertake systematic roadshows with all Embassies in India and with all Indians mission abroad and handout the high quality brochures printed as above.
  • Undertake partnerships with technical Universities / organisations such as IIS, IIT, AIIMS, RECs, ISRO, NCAER, DRDO , Medanta etc for attracting technical conferences to India.
  • Ask MOT to coordinate with other ministries to set up a budget to sponsor Showcase India technical experts in technical conferences abroad.
  • Ask MOT to set up a MICE coordination cell to coordinate with all ministries & state governments to facilitate inbound MICE coordination activities.
  • Set up a full functional bidding cell with bidding managers & a corpus jointly funded by MOT & other ministries to help members to approach bids in a scientific & systematic manner.
  • Ask each member to identify top 5 meeting organiser & set up FAM trips for them sponsored by MOT.
  • Ask MOT to undertake roadshows to top 10 intestinal source markets to meet specialised PCO & MICE operators.
  • Get recognised through NSDC to empower universities to give an ICPB certified education at degree level or continuing certificate level through e- learning and make it mandatory for all employees of members to undergo the e- learnings module.
  • Develop a program “incredible meeting specialists of India ” for MICE operators abroad & certify them post FAM trips & India knowledge modules.
  • Ask MOT to to approach PM to make it mandatory for each ministry to approach their international counterparts for Govt to government meetings in India.
  • Ask MOT to pursue to MOF to give double weighted tax credit on costs incurred by Indian companies on their mice activities held in India.
  • Ask all members to approach their political contacts to push for a lower GST rate on tourism.
  • Set up a sub committee to explore the benefits of FTP.
  • Ask MOT to approach MOA to have integrated convention zones around each Airport.
  • Explore with MOC tax credits on foreign mice events in India.
  • Truly move towards making ICPB the nodal body similar to SECB or AACB.


  • Develop a Shared Vision Document between ICPB, MOT & members on sustainable meetings.
  • Set up a sub committee to develop a detailed checklist for sustainable meetings on lines of guidelines set up by Singapore convention & exhibition bureau of STB. (document attached below)
  • Set up a sub committee to explore incentives & taxation credits from MOT / MOF to subsidise or underwrite additional expense of undertaking green meetings.
  • Develop a standardised sales pitch and a promotion campaign through an IcPB green meetings tag for members communicating to buyers how choosing green meetings can promote a good cause & its benefits
  • Set up a sub committee to explore with agencies who give carbon credit for green meetings which can be given to buyers helping them reduce the cost of their meetings.
  • Set up a sub committee which develops guidelines for setting a roadmap for ‘meetings Vendors’ to comply with for creating green meetings guidelines.
  • Identify vendors to undertake training campaigns for ICPB members and their vendors on running green meetings through costs subsided by MOT.
  • Create an ICPB certification “ICPB certified green meetings holder” for members who meet the criteria and which can enhance their market value.
  • Undertake an ICPB oath that all meetings by members will undertake green meetings that they will reduce consumption, reuse and recycle and get it signed by each meeting buyer as well.

The convention finished with a vote of thanks to all the partners and supporters who made this into a successful event.

What is ICPB?
India Convention Promotion Bureau was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism in close co-ordination and consultation with the Tourism and Conference Industry. The membership of the Bureau comprises of Airlines, Leading Hotels and Hotel Chains, Convention Centres, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Professional Conference Organisers, State Tourism Development Corporations, Surface Transport Companies and other Organisations providing ancillary services. All these organisations have conference management specialists who look after all aspects of management after the bid is won. ICPB helps the Associations / MNCs in the bidding process and advises them of the best means in inviting conferences to India. The prime focus of the Bureau is to disseminate information regarding the infrastructural facilities and related services available in India for organising Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions and also to assist the Tourism Industry to effectively market the MICE potential of India in the international markets.

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