India bureau opens first state chapter

The 11th India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) convention held in Kolkata marked the opening of the first ICPB State Chapter in Kolkata, highlighting the MICE potential of eastern India.

This chapter will help the ICPB to create an effective interface for the MICE industry and to prominently place West Bengal on the MICE map of India. This marks the beginning of ICPB’s pan India presence. The chapter was launched by Suman Billa, chairman of ICPB in the presence of Debashis Sen, additional chief secretary, Govt. of West Bengal and Atri Bhattacharya, principal secretary tourism and home secretary, Govt. of West Bengal along with Chander Mansharamani, vice chairman, ICPB.

The event, held at the Biswa Bangla Convention Center, aimed to highlight the potential of the MICE market and to showcase what the east of India has to offer as MICE products. The convention addressed the vitality of the MICE business as a tool to increase the inbound numbers.

Billa stated: “The power of the MICE sector cannot be ignored if one is looking at bringing in the numbers. He clearly stated that MICE flattens the seasonality issue that the tourism sector faces. Building smart destinations, cross-subsidising, creating a strong ecosystem to work in harmony is the need of the hour. Hyderabad is a good example of this kind of ecosystem in the MICE space. The time has come to build state level and city chapters to develop MICE. The granting of e-visa and conference visa is also a positive move.”

Billa added: “We have to prioritise and create clear marketing strategies. The Incredible India 2.0 campaign is world class with a very clear aim and focus. Digital marketing is clearly the future. Quality infrastructure is a vital tool towards offering a quality tourism product. There is a tremendous amount of infrastructure being developed around tourism sites. However, we need to look at profitable ways of making infrastructure bankable. The aviation sector has been opened up and the reciprocity clause has been given a review.” Some positive changes have already been initiated to ease tax and also to help provide impetus to the MICE sector.