The proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the ongoing process has its own toll on the industry. One among the potential industries at the receiving end of the impact is the Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE).
The market for MICE industry is estimated at about Rs.5,000 crore in India and Hyderabad is one of the most favoured destinations for the industry. Unlike other cities, Hyderabad has well-developed infrastructure, skilled manpower, world class airport and convention centres including the state-of-the-art facility – the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC).
However, owing to political uncertainty and lack of other proactive measures, the destination has lost many conferences in the recent past according to industry players. As per latest ratings of the International Conventions and Conferences Association (ICCA), Hyderabad was pushed behind other competing cities in the country. In contrast, India’s rank has gone up with 150 international meetings per annum and also one of the top 5 countries in Asia Pacific during 2012. Cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai have performed very well.
A couple of years ago, Hyderabad stood second next to New Delhi in India. As per the current ICCA rankings, Mumbai and Bangalore have taken second and third positions leaving Hyderabad in fourth place. Chennai is said to be doing really well.
“We did lose some conferences last year, but numbers can’t be shared. Some organisers have backed off due to issues related to Telangana and perceived disturbances in the last quarter of the calendar year 2013. We tried convincing them, but were not successful,” said Swetha Sharma, marketing director, HICC. The fear factor associated with the Telangana issue was clearly visible among the international entities evaluating Hyderabad, she added.
This apart, the noticeable decline can also be attributed to the inability of local government to match the subsidies and incentives being offered by other international destinations, according to Arjun Narnia, director of Hyderabad-based K.W. Conferences Pvt., Ltd.
“With the increasing costs and dipping sponsorships, the international associations are looking at venue cities with substantial support,” he said.
However, all is not lost. Right marketing and increased support to the conventions through government and private sector could substantially increase the MICE business, according to Vishalakshi. V, founder director of a Hyderabad-based company Identity which operates in the domain of destination marketing. “We need to build an eco-system with the help of a convention bureau as a destination marketing body,” Ms. Vishalakshi said.