According to several Indian business events planners, Nepal has the potential to attract corporate incentive groups from India, but is unable to do so due to the lack of awareness about event venues, limited direct air links, and the absence of marketing promotions.
“Nepal has unique natural and cultural attractions, including the Himalayas, rich history, and diverse traditions, which can be marketed effectively to target Indian incentive groups. The focus of Nepal in India has been majorly on attracting leisure and FIT tourists. There is a need to create awareness about various venues available in destinations like Kathmandu and Pokhara for MICE activities,” said Anup Tarafdar, managing director, Eventex.
Tarafdar is part of a contingent of the Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA) who were in Pokhara, Nepal to attend the PATA Annual Summit & Adventure Mart 2023. On June 2, NIMA held a meeting with representatives from Nepal Tourism Board to discuss how Nepal can be promoted as a MICE destination to Indian corporate groups.
“The way neighbouring South-east Asian destinations have been able to attract Indian MICE groups; Nepal has a similar opportunity. There is a need to promote Nepal as a MICE destination in India and create awareness about various MICE products existing in the country,” noted Nitash Kumar Tiwari, director, Neeti Events & Holidays.
According to Puneet Saxena, founder & director, Navyush Travel Experience, Nepal is well-positioned to attract Indian incentive groups considering there are no visa requirements and where Indian cuisine can be easily found.
“Procuring visas for large incentive groups can be a cumbersome process, but for Nepal there is no such challenge. In terms of air connectivity, Nepal needs to (build more direct connections with) large Indian cities, and increase its frequencies to existing destinations,” added Saxena.
At present, Nepal Airlines operates direct flights to three Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Vistara and Air India operate direct flights between New Delhi and Kathmandu, while IndiGo connects Kathmandu directly to New Delhi and Mumbai.
India is Nepal’s leading source market for international tourist arrivals, where Nepal welcomed 254,150 Indian tourists in 2019.