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August 27, 2010

India is committed to growth in the meetings sector

Pete Roythorne reports live from the first day of the sixth Conventions India Conclave in Bangalore.

The sixth Conventions India Conclave opened its doors today in the country’s 'garden city' of Bangalore. Taking place at the Lalit Ashok hotel, the conference and exhibition is being attended by 275 domestic delegates and more than 40 overseas guests from a total of 22 different countries. This represents the biggest distribution of global visitors to the event in its history, and highlighting the growing interest in India from around the globe.

The inaugural session was a clear indication of where India is setting its sights within the meetings and events sector. The chairman of the India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) and director general (Tourism) for the Indian Government’s Ministry of Tourism, Devesh Chaturvedi, said the MICE market was emerging as a key focus for the government and the holding of the ICCA conference in Hyderabad in October was the perfect opportunity for India to put itself on the conventions map.

“We have big convention centres emerging in many of the major cities around the country, and we already have a large number of venues that can host between 500 and 1,000 delegates. So India should have the confidence in its ability to win big events and conferences,” he said.

“The Government is keen to encourage more cities to bid for events, and we are pushing our existing assistance programme whereby cities can apply for a grant of up to 25% of the cost of bidding for big events.”

Chaturvedi also said that the country’s Incredible India campaign had been a huge success. He added that the Government was committed to taking this newfound profile and applying it to other key products in the tourism sector, explaining that MICE would be a core focus of this.

“As part of this we are committed to expanding our presence at key global events,” Chaturvedi said.  

Meanwhile, vice chairman of the ICPB, Rajeev Kohli, added: “India currently holds just 1.1% of global events, and we need to change the way we market ourselves if we are to grow this. We are no longer a nation of snake charmers and elephants. We have some of the finest hotel and dining experiences in the world and some incredible venues and destinations, in short we have the whole package.

"India is safe, politically stable and taking on the whole world in the meetings sector. The fact we have the widest spread of nations attending this year’s events is testament to the growing interest in India and we need to capitalise on this.”

Rajeev Kohli: India has the whole
meetings and events package!

Shyam Nagpal, honourary secretary of the ICPB, was effusive about the opportunity India now has to get itself on the meetings map around the world.

“India has always defied logic. In the 1980s and 1990s people said we would never have a thriving IT industry. Now we are one of the global knowledge hubs for IT,” he said. “We have set our sights on being in the top five meetings and conference destinations in the next 10 years – we already hold over 300 medical conferences annualy, which is the largest number in the world.”

The inaugural sessions also saw the ICPB unveil its latest newsletter, Conventions and Business Events India, which is designed to help the association’s members get the help and assistance they need in the sector.

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