Wonderlust Magazine


Incentive leads the demand for outbound MICE

September 14
11:56 2017

India is estimated to generate 6.5 Million outbound luxury and MICE tourists annually by 2020, reinforcing the country’s influence as a key source market for MICE and luxury travel, according to figures that were published ahead of the 5th Annual MICE India and Luxury Travel Congress (MILT).

As calculated by Mastercard, the outbound MICE market is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.6% to 2020. In 2016, India ranked as the fastest growing outbound business travel market of any country in the world, with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reporting spending in this segment increased 5.4% over the year. Not only is the market growing in volume and value but, following the introduction of more direct flights to key cities across the world, Indian travellers now venture further than ever before.
Wonderlust spoke to few NTOs to know how this segment is growing and what they have to offer for the Indian outbound MICE market. A majority of NTOs shared that the incentive is the key to drive demand from the Indian outbound MICE segment.

Noel Saxena, Country Manager, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, India Office
The country’s tourism economic growth can be raised exponentially by participating in huge congregations, seminars, exhibitions and other marketing events. Taiwan offers the amazing blend of modernity and tradition. This combination is reflected in the excellent variety of exhibitions and conferences venues around the island, from the grand Nangang Exhibition Center to the beautiful, oriental architecture of the Grand Hotel. Taiwan has the best infrastructure to facilitate events of every kind and scale, allowing the business traveler to meet with style and efficiency in any number of meeting facilities or socializing environments.
Talk about communications and Taiwan is enriched with an advanced and sophisticated communications infrastructure. In addition, as part of M-Taiwan initiative, the country offers island-wise wireless Internet connectivity; the capital, Taipei, enjoys the title of ‘wireless city’. Taiwan can provide advanced virtual conference and office facilities to allow business visitors to get the most out of their operations and activities.
The demand for the destination has increased in last couple of years. To promote MICE the Taiwan government has recently eased its visa policy for Indian nationals. Visa is usually the primary concern for MICE groups and the government of Taiwan has eased that. Indian nationals are now entitled to free Taiwan visa which can be applied online, so it’s now easier to plan a MICE event in Taiwan.

  • The applicant’s passport must have remaining validity of at least six months starting from the date of arrival in Taiwan.
  • The applicant must possess an onward/return air or ferry ticket.
  • The applicant has never been employed as a blue-collar worker in Taiwan.

Visa exempt entry into Taiwan for Indian Passport Holder for 30 days via online system is also offered.
The applicant must have at least one of the following valid or expired visas issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand or any of the Schengen countries, UK or USA:

  • Valid resident or permanent resident card
  • Valid entry visa (may be electronic visa)
  • Resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan

For Online Group Visa there is an exemption for Indian passport Holders with minimum 5 or more people travelling in a group to Taiwan via online system for 30 days.
Other than easing the visa policy for Indians, Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) is participating in trade exhibition such as the recently concluded one in OTM Mumbai and holding workshops in different cities of India. Recently, workshops were organised in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi where 200 travel agents were invited and were given detailed presentation on what Taiwan has to offer to its MICE tourists. Delegates from TTB were also present at the workshops, which spoke about Taiwan and gave the Indian travel agents an insight about the destination. These workshops also included a B2B session between the Indian travel agents and the DMCs and hoteliers from Taiwan.
Other than that Taiwan frequently participates in travel trade exhibitions like OTM, SATTE and BLTM. Last year Taiwan was awarded with an award for the best MICE destination award in BLTM.
Taiwan also participated in OTM this year and received a great response for MICE tourism.

Ashit Taneja, Country Manager, Jordan Tourism Bureau, India Office
Jordan recorded an unprecedented growth of 18.40% last year. Choices for incentive experiences are countless in the destination. Adventurous individuals can enjoy a desert experience to discover the challenges and wild beauty of some of the country’s outstanding natural sites like Wadi Rum or Petra, where 4×4 vehicles, camels or Arabian horses are the preferred mode of transportation. They can soar with the eagles over the towering desert mountains in a hot air balloon, learn to fly, go skydiving, or climb and explore the challenging cliff faces to discover the ancient rock carvings and manmade tombs of those who lived in the area thousands of years ago. They can experience the Bedouin lifestyle and dine under a million stars to the haunting sounds of Arabic music. There is no bifurcation as such however the demand for the destination has increased in last couple of years.

To promote MICE the Jordan government offers Visa on Arrival to all Indian Tourists for USD 56 OR JD 40
VISA Formalities required are:

  • USD 1000 cash per person
  • Confirmed return ticket
  • Confirmed hotel reservation under travellers name
  • Passport validity of 6 months from date of arrivalinto Jordan

And for no visa fees:

  • Book through JordanianDMC/supplier and stay for minimum two nights


  • Buy JordanPass and stay for minimum 3 consecutive nights. The Jordan Pass is the ultimate sightseeing package. It gives pass holders the ability to save their time, money and stress. Hassle-free prepaid entry at a reduced rate to over 40 attractions in Jordan.

Datuk Zulkefli Hj. Sharif, Chief Executive Officer, MyCEB, Malaysia

At the moment, India represents the second largest MICE market for Malaysia, behind China. In 2017, till date MyCEB has recorded 19 leads with an estimated 4,406 delegates and representing RM38,070,194 (USD8,910,520.40) million in estimated economic impact coming from the Indian market. The incentive market is performing better as compared to the other segments in terms of the demand for the destination. In 2016, 52 leads came from India, representing an estimated economic impact of RM59,889,225 million (USD 14,017,374.35 million) and 6,947 delegates. At the moment, promotional activity is largely focused on digital marketing, with the presence of a microsite, www.likeneverbefore.my.

Christine Mukharji, Market Manager-India, Austrian National Tourism Office (ANTO)

We have had a high increase in MICE numbers in the last two years. The tourism board is pro active in providing detailed information and assistance in planning the event, making joint presentations with the agent to the client. We have a dedicated website www.convention.austria.info/en  to cater to information on MICE. We assist the travel trade with itinerary planning, information and location planning. We also provide assistance in the form of convention bureaus. Conferences and Incentives are the leading segments from the Indian market for MICE activities. We have a range of promotions which include online marketing, print media and social events where we invite corporates too. We also hold a MICE dedicated exhibition in Austria ‘ACCESS’ to increase MICE specific arrivals.

Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South – South East Asia, Tourism New Zealand
New Zealand as a destination has something to offer for everyone. Along with being a popular destination among Indian honeymooners, New Zealand is also a great destination for MICE travel as we have outstanding venues like hotels and convention centres equipped with highly skilled hospitality professionals.

There are outstanding venues from hotels to purpose-built convention centres spread across both North Island and South Island – all staffed by people who showcase New Zealand’s very warm hospitality. New Zealand caters well for events of up to 2,000 delegates. Also, three new convention centres are set to be built before 2018. Besides this, New Zealand provides ample opportunity to bond beyond work with a range of tourism experiences such as adventure activities or more sedate and sightseeing activities.

The MICE sector in India is poised for growth and New Zealand offers a once in a lifetime experience for incentive travellers. With Indian companies increasingly looking at overseas incentive and team-building destinations, the country boasts of an array of activities and experiences that can be customized to fit every travel checklist.

The Meeting Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry has shown a growth trajectory from India. Today corporates are willing to travel to host an event in a destination that offers state of the art facilities, new experiences and the added value of travel. International travel for MICE from India has been growing well for the last couple of years and is driven largely by incentive travel.

Over the last few years Tourism New Zealand has worked with a range of partners in the Indian market. We have hosted two corporate familiarization trips between October 2016 and April 2017 comprising of more than 15 corporates across FMCG, automotive, pharmaceutical, textile and banking which were supported by Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. These familiarization trips were jointly hosted with our trade partners Cox and Kings and SOTC with whom we run joint marketing campaigns to target these corporates with the object to increase incentive groups to New Zealand. New Zealand business events go beyond convention. New Zealand not only offers a picturesque backdrop to a business event, but also has state-of-the-art conference facilities across both the North and South Islands. Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Wellington, Christchurch are the top regions for MICE. Key attractions for MICE include unique venues for gala dinners, helicopter scenic flights and glacier landings, uniquely New Zealand activities such as jet boating, Maori culture and visiting natural attractions such as Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park.

Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager – India, South African Tourism
South Africa offers a powerful combination of experiences – traditional cultures mixed with modern urban rhythms to eco-tourism in harmony with adrenalin-fused adventure. The options are as endless as the starry night sky or the open grass plains.
South Africa has world-class international convention centers, conference venues, meeting and incentive facilities and services. With more than 1700 conference centers nationwide and nearly 2000 hotels, South Africa offers graded accommodation (graded by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa). South Africa’s events industry is well-established to suit every business need and budget. A wide variety of options exist to cater for conferences, events and incentives of all sizes and budgets.
Apart from the world-class infrastructure, South Africa’s unique safari locations offer corporate metings amidst the African bush. Inspiring locations, coupled with game viewing activities motivate guests to enjoy their meetings.

MICE groups love the idea of meetings in South Africa winelands with its magnificent views, splendid wine farms, exquisite Cape Dutch architecture, luxury experiences and delectable food. Here meetings and corporate workshops are combined with wine and olive tasting, vineyard tours, horse-back rides, hot air ballooning, culinary tours and many more exciting group activities.  While adventure and leisure is a great mix for meetings, South Africa has lots of golf courses that offer MICE travelers a unique experience. After all as one would agree, on some occasions, more business gets done and problems get resolved between the twelfth and the fifteenth hole than in the boardroom!

Main convention cities in South Africa include Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and East London.
But over the years MICE travel has become a multi-faceted industry in South Africa, which has seen a shift from the confines of the sprawling metropolis to newer regions like Limpopo province, Garden Route, Sun City, Mpumalanga among others.

Entertainment options

  • Johannesburg is known for its incredible nightlife. From the funky clubs and pubs of Soweto to the laid-back jazzy groove of Newtown and the stylish venues of the northern suburbs caters for all tastes.
  • Float high above the ground while Hot Air Ballooning to take in the landscapes of this beautiful country
  • Take the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain for a bird’s eye-view of the city. Or, for outdoor and adventure enthusiasts, you can even hike up to the top
  • There are exciting and unique Zulu Cultural Ceremonies to partake in like a festival involving snakes, a reed dance with thousands of Zulu maidens or a mass religious gathering of the Shembe- which are exclusively available to the visitors to Eshowe in Zululand
  • Quite unknown to many travelers is the fact that Durban doubles as a beer wonder. Plan a visit to a state-of-the-art brewery and enjoy a range of beers like you’ve never tasted before
  • MICE groups love to explore for meetings in South Africa winelands with its magnificent views, splendid wine farms, and exquisite Cape Dutch architecture. Here meetings and corporate workshops are combined with wine and olive tasting, vineyard tours, horse-back rides, hot air ballooning, culinary tours and many more exciting group activities
  • Take to the skies for the ride of your life at various drop zones like Mother City SkyDiving, Pretoria Skydiving Club, SkyDive Rustenburg and Durban Skydiving Club
  • View the African Penguins at any of the mesmerizing locations of your choice – Boulders Beach, Dyer Island, Betty’s Bay, Port Elizabeth or Robben Island
  • If you’re looking to socialize with your colleagues, V & A Waterfront is the place to be. It makes for a huge entertainment venue with pubs, restaurants, jazz lounges and clubs abound. Head to Shimmy Beach Club for the ultimate Beach Club experience or Asoka to while away the whole evening over tapas and wine – you’re sure to be spoiled for choice.


As of October 2016, South Africa had 81,429 arrivals with MICE making up for 43% of the total arrivals. In terms of MICE from India, incentive led travel dominates, at approximately 80%.  Incentive-led travellers are always on the lookout for culturally rich, off-the-beaten track experiences that can cater to a wide variety of individual tastes and South Africa is the perfect option. After all nothing brings people closer than jumping off Bloukrans together or gum-boot dancing to African beats with the entire group.

Activities such as adventure, spas, voluntourism, cultural and historic attractions, are also gaining a lot of attention among MICE groups. South Africa has emerged as an exciting option for meetings, with more than 1700 conference venues including large convention centers located in the top urban centers i.e. Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and East London which effectively cater to events of any type.
Besides meetings, South Africa is booming as a conference destination. A lot of requests also come from strategy-planning incentives, where travelers opt for unusual team-bonding setups like, around a traditional camp fire or on game drive vehicles, which not only add a tinge of unconventionality but also encourage discussions and dialogue.
South Africa, because of the healthy economy and rapidly growing international trade, has seen an upsurge of business travelers from India. Corporate firms such as HDFC, Hercules, 9X Media, ACC Cement, Siyaram Silk etc. have organized their MICE trips to South Africa. Recently, a small group from Coca Cola was also in South Africa.

In May 2017, the Durban ICC successfully hosted the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa which attracted close to some 1000 delegates from over a hundred different countries. The event boasted of several African leaders including South African President Jacob Zuma as well as an impressive list of global speakers. More recently, it was host to the International AIDS Conference in July 2017. This was the largest event of its kind ever to be hosted on the African continent.

With four major international airports located in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, numerous domestic airports and air services also connect the country’s leading destinations and there is an extensive, modern road network, making it easy and affordable to access and experience a wide range of activities. A leading example of which is the high-speed Gautrain, which transports visitors from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport directly to Sandton, the heart of the country’s business hub.

Recognized as an important untapped segment within the powerhouse that is South Africa’s tourism industry, the government has increasingly recognized the need to promote and enhance its business tourism sector, and has established a number of new policy initiatives aimed at expanding the MICE segment in recent years.

In 2012, South Africa National Conventions Bureau (SANCB), an entity focused solely on the promotion of MICE travel was introduced.  The SANCB has over the past few years, increased and continued its investment in utilizing Meetings Africa as a strategic vehicle to unearth opportunities for the country and the rest of the continent. With the objective of ‘Advancing Africa Together’, Meetings Africa is a trade show designed to contribute to the growth of Africa’s potential as the world’s fastest growing and most sought-after business events destination.

SAT in India trains MICE and leisure agents alike on the countless bonding-focused activities that South Africa boasts. With so many aspirational adventure activities, South Africa is naturally well positioned as a destination of choice for Indian MICE groups that have now covered majority of Asia and Europe and are now looking for new areas.

Additionally our annual properties – Roadshow and Learn South Africa 2017, help bring together travel agents and hotels and service providers in the MICE segment.

Bejan Dinshaw, Country Manager, TCA Abu Dhabi
The demand for MICE groups to our destination has been increasing year-on-year. The Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau does have offerings for the India Market. These are based on individual evaluations of the incoming groups considering the number of guests, guest nights, and the type of event being undertaken in Abu Dhabi. We do have an all round demand from the above as we have done many meetings and conferences in Abu Dhabi. In fact, last year we welcomed the TAAI Convention to Abu Dhabi! However, if you look at absolute numbers, then incentives are leading. We do participate regularly at trade events and exhibitions for promoting the destination for MICE activities. We recently participated at the MILTC held at Mumbai.

Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney
The organization responsible for promoting Sydney as a MICE destination of choice across the world is Business Events Sydney. Sydney has been able to attract a lot of interest over the past year from corporates for what it can offer to their incentive groups. We have seen some of the largest group movements ever from India in the last year, across all major industry and service verticals. Sydney is a premium destination with unique world-class experiences, a wide variety of venues and accommodation options, great food, temperate weather and perhaps the best value for money that any overseas destination can offer.
Increasingly, companies and associations in India are opting for this great destination to host their MICE movements. The Australian visa is also one of the most hassle-free visas to apply for and get and this advantage is seen as another major USP of our destination. At the moment, it is mainly the “I” in MICE that Sydney is seeing from India, i.e. incentives, although there are increasing numbers of conferences and exhibitions going there as well. Sydney offers an unending variety of unique experiences and activities that are different from other global destinations, be it on land, air or water, and in the cities or countryside. Business Events Sydney has an office in Mumbai from where it engages closely and regularly with corporate clients; MICE travel companies in India and the leading Australian DMCs to offer the best itineraries and activity options.

Tourism Fiji
Fiji is a great place to host MICE gatherings. We offer a good combination of state-of-the-art accommodation and rejuvenating outdoor & team building activities. The culture and hospitality of Fiji is what really sets it apart, making the visit a great experience for groups from various countries.
India is one of our priority emerging markets and we are beginning to highlight Fiji’s offerings for MICE groups in the metro cities of India. While we have hosted a couple of groups from India in the past, we would like to see more activity in this segment in the upcoming years.
We have seen new products being launched in Fiji including international hotel chains such as Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay (opened in April 2017) and Six Senses (scheduled to open in December 2017), which we believe makes Fiji more attractive for the Indian MICE segment.
With our national carrier Fiji Airways adding two flights a week from Singapore to Fiji and also signing a code-share agreement with Jet Airways from India (out of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai), travel to Fiji is also becoming easier than it was earlier.
One of the key decision making aspects for MICE groups is Indian food and owing to the fact that 40% of Fiji’s population is of Indian origin, this is well catered for in Fiji. Not just Indian food, but most varieties of Indian food can easily be prepared in Fiji (Jain, North India, South India and more).
We are currently doing joint promotions with Cox and Kings by hosting Corporate Evenings in Delhi and Mumbai. We aim to showcase Fiji’s offerings to key corporate to excite and encourage them about this beautiful destination.
We will continue to invest strongly in India in the upcoming years as we believe this is a market with great potential for Fiji.

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Official editorial team of Wonderlust - The Business Travel Magazine.

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