According to the ‘MICE Industry: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast’, the business events industry is projected to reach $1439.3 billion in 2025, registering a CAGR of 7.6 per cent from 2018. The complex industry consisting of sponsors, planners, convention & visitor bureaus, hoteliers, suppliers and corporates is a key revenue generator for any destination, influencing leisure travel in a big way as delegates return with families and friends.
In 2017, the meetings segment dominated the global MICE industry, accounting for $505.8 billion, and is expected to grow at a notable CAGR of 7.5 per cent during the forecast period. Incentives segment which is witnessing superlative growth is fast closing the gap with the meetings segment and is expected to overtake meetings as the largest sub-segment within MICE.
As governments continue to invest in building world-class MICE infrastructure and improve air connectivity & visitor access, MICE business is certain to grow. Based on region, the MICE industry was dominated by Europe and Asia-Pacific as they accounted for nearly 70.4 per cent market share in 2017 and are expected to witness a CAGR of 6.9 per cent and 8.6 per cent respectively during the forecast period.
Sustainability, zero food waste and personalisation continue to be key trends in the MICE industry as others like AR & VR, technology-enabled delegate experience and wellness become increasingly important, all the more with audiences for meetings and incentives becoming multi-generational, read millennials.
Dubai has always been the MICE capital of the Middle East and especially so for Indian business travellers. But, in the last few years, Qatar has made rapid strides. The new Qatar Business Events Corporation (QBEC) introduced in 2018 spearheads the Arab State’s MICE marketing efforts. In 2018, Qatar hosted 150 exhibitions and conferences, helping it join the ranks of the Top 100 City Destinations 2018 listed by Euromonitor. One of the major draws for Qatar is its location sitting halfway between Europe and major African & Asian capitals, with one of the quickest-growing airlines in the world, Qatar Airways, flying to 150 destinations. There are 176 flights every week connecting Indian cities to Doha operated by Qatar Airways and Indians enjoy free visa access. In 2018, Qatar welcomed more than 4,00,000 Indian visitors, representing a 20 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
By highlighting its expanding business events options which will soon include the many stadium complexes being erected for the FIFA World Cup 2022, and showcasing the smart and sustainable cities of Lusail and Msheireb, as well as initiatives such as Education City, which are key components of the Qatar National Vision 2030, the ‘embargoed’ Arab nation is making its presence more than felt in the crowded but exploding MICE market.