MICE tourism, next big thing for Bhubaneswar

This bureau will either work as an independent organisation or as a division in the tourism development corporation looking after promotion and development of tourism in the city.

Published: 09th January 2023 08:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2023 08:35 AM   |  A+A-

Odisha tourism, tourism

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: With Bhubaneswar playing host to major conferences and events, the city is fast emerging as one of the top destinations for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism in Odisha.

Both the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) and the state Tourism department are now putting Bhubaneswar on their priority list of destinations for MICE events. As of Friday, there are at least 10-star hotels (primarily 3, 4 and 5 stars) in the city. Stakeholders said the availability of good quality hotels at affordable rates, air connectivity and cultural link have made Bhubaneswar a leading choice for events and conferences.

As per a report ‘MICE Market in India’ published by MoT in 2019, the emerging destinations considered in consultation with the professional conference organisers (PCOs) and event management companies are Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Indore, Nagpur, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Udaipur, Varanasi and Visakhapatnam.

Looking at the city’s potential for MICE tourism, the ministry in April last year released its ‘National Strategy for MICE Industry’ under which, it identified six cities to be developed as MICE destinations to boost tourism throughout the year. These are Bhubaneswar, Agra, Udaipur, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi. The ministry has identified Exhibition Ground at Janpath, Mayfair Hotels, Trident and Sandy’s Tower as the major exhibition and convention centres.

Officials concerned said under the strategy, the MoT with help of the state government plans to set up a MICE promotion bureau in Bhubaneswar within the next five years. The bureau will act as a single point of contact for seeking information and facilitation for organising MICE events. “Twenty cities will be developed as MICE destinations in three phases and Bhubaneswar finds a spot in the second phase (next five years),” they informed.

This bureau will either work as an independent organisation or as a division in the tourism development corporation looking after the promotion and development of tourism in the city. The State Tourism Policy, the gazette notification of which was published in December last year, also aims at developing MICE as one of the major themes of tourism development. Considering this, the hotel and restaurant owners of the city have also urged the Tourism department to help them double the capacity of star hotels here.

Chairman of Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association (HRAO) JK Mohanty said he has written to the state government to increase the number of rooms in star hotels to cater to this segment. “While Puri and Konark double up as both tourist and MICE destinations, Bhubaneswar has now become synonymous with MICE tourism as corporates and travellers are choosing the city for MICE events,” he said.

At least 12 mega conferences or events are being organised in star hotels of the city on an average per year. A mega-conference or a big wedding brings with its delegates and guests from different parts of the country and abroad which helps a hotel fill up its hotel rooms, benefits tour operators, and transporters and also promotes local cuisines, destinations and crafts, he added.

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