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Nagesh Chawla: Change in MICE scenario in the new normal

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Nagesh Chawla, cluster GM, Renaissance Mumbai & Lakeside Chalet – Mumbai, Marriott Executive Apartments writes, how Indians are becoming members of international trade bodies and associations which help them establish their network globally and also open newer avenues for the MICE sector in India

MICE and the hospitality industry have been interlinked from times beyond recollection. India has seen exponential growth, both in terms of international and domestic markets in MICE. As per the ICCA Statistics report 2019, India was mentioned as the host for 158 international exhibitions and trade fairs and ranked 27th in the worldwide ranking. It is evident that Indians are becoming members of international trade bodies and associations which help them establish their network globally and also open newer avenues for the MICE sector in India.

While these have been healthy signs showing progress in the MICE capabilities and the progress of the country on a whole, while welcoming delegates with open arms; The pandemic has affected the entire spectrum of the industry and undoubtedly being the backbone of the Meetings and Exhibitions industry, even micro and small enterprises have been directly impacted, resulted in bankruptcy bringing us backward in the trade dynamic by a couple of years.

Proximity being the feeder of the infamous virus, large meetings, and huge gatherings have been put a hold on by most countries. Entertainment, sports, trade shows, and exhibitions, are already facing challenges and will continue to do so until there is a vaccine in place which has no tentative timeline on being devised as of yet.

Even as we witness lockdowns being lifted in a few countries and cities, it makes sense to hypothesize a world where large meetings will still be difficult to implement. To name a few unavoidable situations contributing to the scenario include international travel coming to a standstill for two-three days events, considering the quarantine demands which vary per nation. This is not only restricted to international, but also domestic travel to areas that are heavily impacted and in the red zones. Antibody testing comprehends to be the only solution; however, this will lead to multiple checks for every event, which will become logistically impossible.

Whilst we face innumerable challenges, there has been immense development on the innovative and digital front during this entire lockdown, with figuring out alternates and devising new strategies and ideas to comply with the new normal, keeping in mind the government regulations and guidelines. There have been new developments in the Events and F&B domain in the hospitality industry with a majority of things becoming contact-less and digital. Virtual tours are being preferred for Site Inspections rather than personal visits for the show around.

The immense increase in demand for smaller and local meetings is developing day by day. The perception of individuals has changed drastically, while there was always a race for economic development and changes on the business front, forever evolving, people have taken to tend to their health primarily than the former at present. Local is the norm for the nation as well, with increasing focus on developing within the nation. Hosting events with no travel involved is becoming a safer approach the weddings, internal meetings, seminars et cetera.

Indians have been synonymous with the Namaste for centuries and our pledge of ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ is going to prevail even with the smallest of groups and people. With the entire world adapting to the changes of the new normal, we are taking our time to innovate and materialize brilliant ideas to deliver a promise of delivering nothing but the safest and most preferred experience when we are ready to welcome our guests back. We are ready, to not only regain the confidence of our MICE meeting planners and delegates but also assure them at the same time that we care about their safety as prime and we will do everything in our spectrum to ensure the delivery of the same.

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