Surge in MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism activities is seen boosting the local economy post-Covid in Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram is witnessing an influx of business travellers and increased demand for accommodation, dining, transportation, and retail, say sources in the trade.
In 2021, the Union Ministry of Tourism identified six major cities including Thiruvananthapuram, Udaipur and Varanasi as destinations to be prioritised in the MICE segment.
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Shruti Shibulal, CEO and Director, Tamara Leisure Experiences
| Photo Credit: Supplied image
Helps boost infrastructure
Kerala’s commercial capital Kochi, too, has refurbished its appeal as a favourite tourist destination. Shruti Shibulal, CEO and Director, Tamara Leisure Experiences, said group property O by Tamara in Thiruvananthapuram saw very few MICE events since the five-star hotel was launched in 2019, just before the pandemic struck. The situation has undergone a sea change with MICE generating up to 10 per cent of total revenue since. The property hosted 72 events in the last year and half alone, ranging from national and international conferences and job fairs to those associated with the G20 Summit.
Hyatt convention space
Priyesh CB, Director of Sales, Hyatt Regency Trivandrum
| Photo Credit: Supplied image
MICE boosts tourism infrastructure development but also provides jobs and generate revenue for small-scale service providers, hotels, shopping centres, and dining corners. Priyesh CB, Director of Sales, Hyatt Regency Trivandrum, said investment in the largest convention space has yielded returns and entrenched it as a premier MICE venue in Thiruvananthapuram. “We have experienced a substantial increase in event bookings, elevating revenue and guest satisfaction levels significantly.”
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The Hyatt property is firm in its resolve to practise sustainable and responsible tourism. “We ave installed a 300-KW solar power plant to generate three days’ needs. It generates 36.000 units on an average per month. The property has an EV charging station and has set up the city’s first automated water bottling plant to process 2,000 bottles of IS 10500 2012 standard drinking water daily,” Priyesh said.
Hyatt Regency in Thiruvananthapuram
| Photo Credit: Gerry O’Leary
The sewage water treatment plant recycles the entire sewage water to process 160 KL of water per day, which is used in cooling towers and for gardening. Other sustainability initiatives include heat recovery wheels, heat pumps for hot water, DRV, VFD chillers, building and chiller plant management. “We recycle even collaterals such as letterheads, and use paper straws and wooden cutleries and recyclable takeaway material,” said Priyesh.
Occupancy level has consistently surpassed projected figures. “We consider Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) as a crucial metric, and are delighted to report that our RevPAR has ranged between the impressive and a healthy Average Daily Rate (ADR).
“We were not open during the period when G20 Summit inquiries came. But we hosted the Indian cricket team, within just two weeks of opening. We look forward to the ICC Cricket World Cup warm-up matches scheduled here for September/October.”
MICE needs urgent props
According to Shibulal,the future of MICE looks extremely bright and promising. It will be tech-driven, where new concepts will guide the efficiency and capability of the event management team. As with a wedding or other family events, MICE events will become personalised and curated. “We recently conducted a hybrid event held in person and virtually simultaneously.”
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But MICE, she pointed out, needs significant efforts to leverage Kerala’s potential for hosting national and international events. “We will also need to collaborate with various associations, organisations, and investors to build this segment and create the right market. Improving air, rail, road connectivity and overall infrastructure would be key.”