• Nepal guns for MICE

    Nepal guns for MICE

    S Puvaneswary, reporting from IT&CMA and CTW, Bangkok, October 2, 2012

    A NEW MICE department under the Nepal Tourism Board (NPB) will be formed by year-end, with a focus on drawing business events from neighbouring markets.

    The department head will report directly to the NPB CEO.

    NPB's public relations & publicity department director, Aditya Baral, said: “The main MICE markets we will attract are India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka due to short flight distance and availability of direct flights. Our secondary targets are South-east Asia – Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – because there are direct flights too.”

    The kingdom is able to cater to meeting groups of 500-700 delegates, according to the spokesperson.

    CEO of Eventworld UK, Michael Packford, said: “Having a MICE department will be a two-way learning process for us and for the department, as the requirements of top corporate people are very different from that of leisure travellers.

    “Nepal is associated mainly with adventure and leisure. You never see Nepal exhibiting at MICE shows. A MICE department will be able to create more awareness on what the destination has to offer to meeting and incentive planners.”

    Richard Jordan, partner, Blue Chip Events in Oxford, UK, said: “Nepal makes an exciting add-on to a meeting and incentive held in India. The MICE division will be able to give us insider tips on the cultural things we can do in Nepal and provide us with information on MICE facilities. In the future, we could even take a full event to Nepal. We have clients in the education sector who have been to India and would love to visit Nepal.”

    He said NPB's MICE division would decrease clients' current dependence on India-based DMCs, an arrangement that tended to influence destination choice in favour of India.

    Durban's D&Y Travel Concept managing director, Paul Ramjugernath, said: “Currently, we use a leading agent from India because we do not have direct contacts in Nepal. This agent makes 30 per cent. With a MICE department, we will have direct contact (with Nepal sellers), allowing us to cut out the middle man.”

    To incentivise meetings planners, the government is providing a grant of Rs500,000 (US$9,483) to those with groups of at least 100 foreigners.

    Shangri-La Hotel & Resort Nepal’s senior general manager, Raju Bikram Shah, applauded NPB's move, saying that Nepal has capitalised too much on trekking tours. He said: “The yield from MICE will be at least double that of leisure tourism.”

    Currently, Nepal has 7,000 guest rooms of all categories and is served by 31 foreign airlines.