Corporate meetings demand for the financial capital holds strong, but Mumbai needs to catch up on the conventions front
As the financial capital of India, Mumbai is a natural magnet for business travellers and corporate events. Its appeal as a meetings destination is also built on its infrastructure – air, sea and rail access from places within and beyond the Indian borders and an extensive supply of business hotels.
And international interest in Mumbai appears to be growing.
Rohit Walter, brand leader with FCM Incoming, shared that his company has observed “substantial growth” in the city’s business events segment.
“Medical, pharmaceutical, auto and tourism are the industry verticals that are leading the demand for international business events and meetings in Mumbai,” he added.
Manufacturing, information technology, supply chain & logistics, and banking industries are important demand drivers too, according to Mumbai hoteliers.
Walter opined that Mumbai has year-round appeal for business events, adding that even the Indian Union elections in April did little to dent demand from international organisers.
He said the Ministry of Tourism will be using business events as a way of developing India into a “365 days destination”.
Additional top-level support, through India Convention Promotion Bureau’s promotion of the country as a venue for international congresses and conventions, will also bode well for Mumbai, he said.
Also in Mumbai’s favour is the state government’s ongoing development of cruise tourism. Indian PCOs told TTGmice that such diversified product offerings of the city will boost inbound corporate demand.
Swadesh Kumr, founder of Shikhar Group of Companies, said: “The development of cruise tourism and the increase in cruise lines choosing the city as a port of call, has (enhanced) Mumbai’s value as an inbound MICE destination. International corporates looking to host their business events in Mumbai can organise some of their social gatherings on a cruise ship.”
However, there is still work to be done for Mumbai to count as a prime destination for conventions. The lack of large venues to support such events is the city’s Achilles heel, opined industry players.
“Mumbai attracts international business events with her good connectivity, presence of different industry verticals and vast business opportunities. However, other Indian cities such as New Delhi and Hyderabad have large convention centres, and that puts Mumbai at a disadvantage,” said Monal Prabhu, associate director, Magnifique Meetings, Sofitel Mumbai BKC.
As well, Chander Mansharamani, managing director, Alpcord Network Travel & Conferences, hopes that state government will have in place a policy to promote Mumbai for business events.