The Indian Corporate’s favourite mice playgrounds

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Express TravelWorld lists out some of the happening MICE hotspots worldwide which have been popular with the Indian corporate segment

United Kingdom

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In the United Kingdom, there are a plethora of dynamic locations to choose from – in London and beyond – mixing thousands of years of history with the modern-day business world. Manchester, England’s great Northern metropolis is a hot-bed of cultural activity and home to an abundance of venues including the iconic Old Trafford stadium – home to the Manchester United Football Club. Liverpool is home to one of the world’s most iconic bands – the Beatles; two Premier League football teams and has a rich maritime history. It also has a rapidly growing influence in the world of international corporate and association congresses. With the Arena and Convention Centre – purpose built for large congresses and events; and a range of venues from the Anglican Cathedral to the Beatles Story, Liverpool is just two hours from London by train.

Two hours from London and Birmingham airports sits the world heritage city of Bath. A world-renowned oasis for well being and relaxation, it’s famed for its luxury hotels, exquisite spas, fine dining and world-class shopping all in a grand Georgian setting. The many historic locations of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath are venues that will find no match anywhere else in the world – in terms of the atmosphere and character of the places, which are perfect for intimate high level meetings.

The Grade 1 listed Assembly Rooms dating back to 1771, can host events of varying sizes. While thousands of visitors throng the Roman Baths during the day, from seven pm onwards the 2000 year old site can turn into an almost surreal location for hosting a reception. The Pump Room that is a fashionable restaurant in day time, famous for its afternoon teas, is a dinner venue of distinction for corporate events. Located in Sydney Gardens, Holburne Museum is rented out only for bespoke experience. No 1 Royal Crescent, one of Bath’s most famous historic buildings, is yet another location for intimate corporate gatherings, suited particularly for cocktails and canapes.

Just 70 km south of London, is one of England’s most popular coastal cities, Brighton. A thriving nightlife and some excellent venues ensure that Brighton offers visitors a great choice of activities. Thornbury Castle is the only Tudor castle in England that has been turned into a hotel, and has its own heli-pad. The Tudor Hall and the Baron’s Sitting Room are perfect locations for high level corporate meetings.


Malaysia

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From bustling Kuala Lumpur to scenic Penang to Sarawak in distant Borneo, all the destinations in Malaysia are popular MICE locations in the ASEAN region. Incentive planners can choose from 130 million-year-old rainforests, idyllic tropical isles, UNESCO heritage sites or urban lifestyle experiences to inspire, motivate and reward their highest achievers. The unique cuisines, cultures and renowned Malaysian hospitality provides an idyllic backdrop for incentive participants.

Kuala Lumpur provides world class facilities to events ranging from small meetings to grand international conventions. It is a cost effective destination to hold MICE events, at the same time offering several retail and dining experiences. The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) is considered to be one the best convention centres in Asia. This ‘city within the city’ is purposefully built for international, local and regional conventions and events and is the city’s most technologically advanced place with world class facilities. Next to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, the KLCC is at the heart of over 12,000 hotel rooms, extensive shopping and entertainment facilities, and convenient transport connections.

Located at the base of MATRADE’s 24-storey architectural icon, the MATRADE Exhibition & Convention Centre (MECC) houses MATRADE Hall, three exhibition halls, nine function rooms, a theatrette and an amphitheatre. Covering more than 100,000 sq m, MECC is equipped with technologically advanced facilities with emphasis on trade-centric events. Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) is Malaysia’s premier centre of business and commercial activities. It is the ideal venue to hold international events, exhibitions and trade fairs.

Malaysia has a growing number of convention centres to choose from. Purpose-built, technologically advanced convention centres and varied accommodation options catering to all budgets and event scales dot the country, across all states. Located just eight km from the Kuching city centre, the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) is the first international purpose-built convention centre in Borneo. BCCK is located in the eco-friendly state of Sarawak in East Malaysia. Langkawi houses the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre, while Johor has the Persada Johor International Convention Centre.

Delegates can truly experience Asia through Malaysia’s blend of the vibrant cultures of Asia’s three major races: Malay, Chinese and Indian, plus 47 ethnic groups. This diversity is reflected in its cuisines, art and heritage, traditions, lifestyle and year-round festivals. Being a multiracial country where all forms of religion, cultures and traditions are accepted and respected, Malaysia is well and able to cater to the various dietary requirements of delegates from India.


Germany

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With over 6000 event venues that range from luxury hotels to unusual innovative locations, Germany continues to go strong as a preferred MICE destination in the world. A conference down under in a salt mine, or in a town where you can be a mayor, or in a castle, like a king. Germany allows all that and much more. Whether a company is organising a major convention or an elite strategy meeting, a product launch or a cultural event, Germany has the right setting for every occasion.

Berlin, the German capital, sets new standards in the field of conventions and meetings on the international level. Regardless of whether events with 50, 500 or 5,000 participants are staged, for each event Berlin has a fitting location. Frankfurt is a city of modernity. More than 60,000 conferences and congresses are held in Frankfurt every year, nearly a quarter of which are internationally oriented. Frankfurt has a wide range of modern conference facilities to choose from, headed by the multifunctional congress facilities of Messe Frankfurt, the city’s famous fair and exhibition centre. Most of Germany’s top 500 companies have offices in Hamburg. A distinct maritime character and international outlook make the Hanseatic city of Hamburg one of Europe’s finest destinations.

Munich is Germany’s lifestyle capital. The multi-faceted and exceptional range of event venues in Munich ensures tailor-made and outstandingly successful congresses, conferences, incentive programmes and other events. Among the options are the International Congress Center Munich (ICM), the Olympic Hall, a range of world-renowned congress hotels as well as trendy halls that were originally built for other purposes and the ever-popular festive halls of the Munich breweries. Stuttgart, the state capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg, is famous around the world – as an automobile city with the star and horse and as one of the most important economic locations, as a trade fair and congress city as well as a city of science.

Given the increased interest from the top metros of India, the Tier I cities continue to be the target audience for the MICE segment – this includes the bigger cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai. However, the Tier II cities act as feeders to the bigger cities and our marketing efforts now also include promotional activities in important Tier II cities such as Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Indore and Kochi.


Thailand

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The reason that makes Thailand one of the most preferred MICE destinations in the world is three of its centres – Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai – all scoring consistently well when it comes to hosting high-end events and conferences. Its other advantage is its proximity to two of the biggest economies in the world, China and India, which gives Thailand a huge advantage in attracting MICE opportunities.

One of the most dynamic business and cultural centres of Thailand, Bangkok, is a major tourist attraction due to its friendly, lively atmosphere and for the businessmen, it provides numerous opportunities for expanding trade. Bangkok provides international business-event planners with opportunities for memorable MICE functions that combine Thailand’s unbeatable value and flexibility with its distinctive culture and hospitality. Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre is Thailand’s first purpose-built convention centre and is home to the Plenary Hall, a theatre style hall, which has a capacity to host up to 6000 people and is considered one of the best venues for meetings, conventions and exhibitions in Thailand.

Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC), regarded as one of the best exhibition venues in Asia, offers world-class MICE services and facilities that can accommodate events of huge numbers with total usable space of 50,400 sq m. Located in the heart of Bangkok’s business district at CentralWorld, Bangkok Convention Centre (BCC), is a fully integrated venue for international conventions, conferences and exhibitions.

The Royal Paragon Hall (RPH) is one of Asia’s most modern halls and is strategically located at the Siam Paragon Shopping Centre in the heart of Bangkok. With a total combined space of 12,000 sq m, its three impressive and ultramodern multi-purpose halls are fully furnished and equipped with cutting edge technology. Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall has a unique location on the west side of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, offering a view of both the Chao Phraya River and the Grand Palace, two of the most visited tourist locations in Bangkok. The United Nation Conference Centre (UNCC) occupies approximately 18,600 sq m of space and is in close proximity to many government offices and old quarters of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai and Phuket are also immensely attractive and each have their own special plus points. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand – about the size of Singapore and is very popular for corporate meetings and seminars. Phuket is currently going through an intensive period of leisure urbanisation with many new hotels, apartments and houses under construction. Chiang Mai has around 33,000 hotel rooms and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau is working with eight key government and private organisations in Chiang Mai to increase the MICE business. Other MICE destinations that are also worth visiting are Pattaya and Khon Kaen.


Canada

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Canada is attracting a number of incentive groups. The destination has a number of attractions and a lot to be experienced by the business traveller.

Known as Canada’s number one convention and trade show facility, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre boasts of over 600,000 sq ft of exhibit and meeting space including 64 meeting rooms, a world-class 1,330 seat theatre and two carpeted ballrooms. The centre is located in the heart of dowtown Toronto, and within walking distance of over 13,000 hotel rooms, shopping, restaurants and tourism sites and only a 20 minute drive from Lester B Pearson International Airport. Popular convention centres in Alberta include BMO Centre – 282,000 sq ft in Calgary; Edmonton Expo Centre – over 500,000 sq ft; Government House; Shaw  Conference Centre – 82,000 sq ft and Telus Convention Centre – 189,000 sq ft. While in British Columbia, convention centres include BC Place (Vancouver); Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (Abbotsford); Penticton Trade and Convention Centre; Vancouver Convention Centre and Victoria Conference Centre. And in Ontario, the convention centres include Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen’s; Government Conference Centre (Ottawa); Scotiabank Convention Centre (Niagara Falls); Ottawa Convention Centre; Toronto Congress Centre. Palais des congres de Montreal and Place Bonaventure in Montreal are other options to choose from. There are also some five-star hotels in Toronto well known for offering state-of-the-art facilities for business meetings- The Ritz Carlton, Toronto, Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, InterContinental Toronto Centre, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and many more.

Vancouver sees the Asia Pacific region as a huge potential MICE market. Vancouver Convention Centre can accommodate between 500-1000 persons on an average in conference style and in theatre style about 6,000 persons. It is said that Vancouver is expected to be a green destination by 2020. And keeping the sustainability aspect in mind, the centre has its own beehive and sewage treatment plants in the convention centre.

Tourism Toronto has become the first convention and visitor’s association outside of the United States to reach a new international sustainability standard. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Certification is awarded to destinations that achieve high standards in environmentally sustainable meetings, trade shows, and conferences. Tourism Toronto has been recognised as achieving Level One certification.


Indonesia

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With venues having state-of-the-art business facilities, Indonesia is equipped to host large international conferences, corporate functions or small meetings, particularly in Jakarta, Bali, Manado and other large cities. For every type of business event, hotels and exhibition centres in Indonesia offer good facilities. The dynamic capital city of Jakarta has many modern MICE facilities. The city is also known for its historical places, cultural heritage, various entertainment and sport facilities and vibrant night life. All of those give a range of interesting options after the conference or for incentive
programmes.

Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) is strategically located in the heart of Jakarta. JCC has long been the premier MICE venue in the capital. JCC provides an atmospheric venue serving the world’s political, business, and entertainment leaders. It is the first international standard conference venue which is connected to Sultan Hotel and located in Senayan Sports Stadium. Public transport from all directions in the city pass this location. Jakarta International Expo (JIExpo) is the biggest MICE facility in Indonesia. Located at the old airport of Kemayoran, in North Jakarta, the facility occupies an area of 100,000 sqm (40,000 sqm indoor and 60,000 sqm outdoor). Jakarta International Event and Convention Center (JITEC) is one of the most prestigious convention centres in Jakarta. It is designed to accommodate different settings of events and various styles of atmosphere, all in one vast indoor facility.

One of the world’s most exotic and diverse destinations, Bali boasts of an impressive range of international-standard meeting facilities, show-stopping hotels, exquisite food, and vibrant nightlife, complimented perfectly by unforgettable scenery and genuinely friendly and hospitable people who practice an authentic age-old culture. Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) is Asia’s premier beachfront convention facility and has earned a sound reputation over the past decade as a major convention destination in South East Asia region. It is exceedingly rare to find a convention centre in such a world class resort setting.

Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia, after Jakarta and Surabaya. The city has modern convention facilities, infrastructure and international standard accommodation in a bid to attract more MICE visitors. Though in Indonesia waters, in recent years Batam has become popular with day trippers and weekend visitors from Singapore and Malaysia, who flock to the island for its golf, duty free shopping, beaches and delicious seafood restaurants.

Due to its scenic wealth and rich culture heritage, West Sumatra is one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations. A combination of idyllic surrounding and growing facilities and infrastructure, Padang and Bukittingi are becoming the perfect location for both leisure and business trips as well as an attractive MICE destination. As MICE destination, Bandung has venues for musical performances such as THE VENUE or the exhibition building called Sasana Budaya Ganesha (Sabuga) and Pusat Dakwah Islam Bandung. Bandung Convention Centre (BCC) was established in 2010 to develop Bandung as a premier destination for MICE activities in Indonesia. Yogyakarta is an exciting place for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions. This city boasts of the Jogja Expo Center, Convention and Exhibition Hall dedicated to the holding of MICE activities both national and international.


Mauritius

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Mauritius houses the region’s largest and most modern convention centre: Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre (SVICC) in Pailles. This centre provides all the facilities needed for large, international conferences which can accommodate up to 5,000 people. It has hosted many international conferences including  the UN Small Island Developing States Conference. Other venues include the International Conference Centre in Grand Bay (up to 600 people) and the Freeport Exhibition in Mer Rouge (up to 1,000 delegates). Positioning itself as a centre of MICE for many years, the island country boasts of a wide variety of activities that can be specifically focused around MICE groups – ranging from golf to adventure sports such as quad-biking, trekking, mountain biking, zip-lining, hunting, kite-surfing, parasailing, canoeing and sky-diving. Mauritius offers easy accessibility through its simple visa entry programme and direct access from a large number of destinations through airlines such as Air Mauritius, British Airways and South African Airways. The national carrier, Air Mauritius, operates daily flights from Europe and other destinations.

Mauritius has a unique combination of a multi-cultural bilingual population, business-friendly atmosphere, large variety of accommodation, diversified mix of hotel brands and Indian Ocean’s largest convention centre. SVICC, spread over an area of about 53,865 sq ft, is one of the major convention centres in the world. Equipped with cutting-edge modern-day technology, it provides a chic ambience for conventions, conferences and exhibitions. SVICC has become a favoured centre for large official gatherings for several multi-national companies. The Atrium of SVICC which is 2,000 sq m serves as a grand entrance into the centre and is perfect for banquets, gala dinners, cocktails and receptions.

Many hotels in the country also offer conferencing facilities and can cater up to 800 people at a time. The island country has a large choice of accommodation, with a strong emphasis on luxury properties and a wide range of luxury hotel brands along with boutique offerings. The MICE partners include: Apavou Hotels, Beachcomber Hotels, Concorde, Four Seasons, Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, MauriTours Travel& Tourism, Maritim Hotel Mauritius, Sun Resorts, Verandas Resorts, One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius, LUX Resorts & Hotels, and many more.


Dubai

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Dubai is one of the most modern and well kept cities in the world attracting both international business travellers and leisure tourists. When it comes to the diversity of venues, Dubai has something for every occasion at various locations throughout the city, making the emirate a leading MICE destination. At the heart of this is the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), which is MENASA region’s largest MICE venue. Another significant venue is the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), which lies at the heart of the Dubai World Trade Centre complex. DICEC can accommodate all manner of events for up to 12,000 delegates and has a spacious, multi-purpose hall seating up to 6,000 persons.

The region’s first purpose-built convention facility, the Zayed University Convention Centre (ZUCC), is located 20 minutes by road from the Dubai International Airport. The auditorium has 513 static seats and built-in simultaneous translation booths for two languages. Dubai also offers a number of floating venues for meetings and events like Bateaux Dubai and Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. Bateaux Dubai, operated by JA Resorts & Hotels, boasts of flexible seating arrangements for up to 200 people for sit-down dinners or 300 guests for cocktail receptions. The premier seat in the ‘house’ is in the Prestige Lounge, with places and tables arranged to ensure more privacy. This space can be customised and accommodates up to 52 guests.

For meetings with a cultural spin, Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre (DUCTAC) at Mall of the Emirates enables planners to hire various rooms including the 14 studios at the Arts Centre, which are suitable for exhibitions and workshops, product launches, seminars or conference breakout rooms. Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse, which is home to the world’s horse racing elite, has a wealth of venues for meeting planners. One of the most popular choices among corporate bookers is the 4,500 capacity Rooftop Sky Bubble. MusicHall, a standalone theatre venue located at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, can hold between 380 and 750 guests in various configurations such as cabaret style or line seating. MusicHall is available for corporate hire. A more unconventional venue, The Fridge is located in the heart of Dubai’s arts district, Alserkal Avenue. This event space is fully equipped with Wi-Fi, a live room, a back-stage area, high ceilings, aerial points and shower and changing facilities, and has a wide range of musical and technical equipment for hire. The venue is ideal for product launches, training, workshops, presentations, screenings and video and photo shoots.

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