THE Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has set its sights on growing incentives traffic from India, and will look to court this market with its new MICE initiative.
MCB will introduce its Melbourne Values You scheme to the Indian market in August, in the hopes of generating more inbound corporate travel. The initiative comprises more than 100 offers from high-end hotels, venues and service providers throughout Victoria, designed to make planning an event in Melbourne easy and cost-effective.
The bureau’s regional sales director – South Asia, Edward Kwek, will spearhead MCB’s Indian marketing efforts from Singapore.
Karen Bolinger, CEO, MCB, said: “Indian incentive and corporate travel clients are looking for once-in-a-lifetime type experiences with high-end products, which Melbourne and the state of Victoria can deliver very well. We expect the Indian MICE business to grow substantially in the next year.”
South Melbourne Travel’s director, Marian Stanley, commented: “The Indian outbound MICE market is growing for Australia and more specifically, for destination Melbourne.”
She expects the annual India Travel Mission in August would help “immensely” in generating new business. The three-day event, organised by Tourism Australia, will bring together approximately 100 Australian suppliers and 100 Indian tour operators.
Melbourne hosted the Amway India Leadership Seminar in December last year. With 4,000 delegates in attendance, it was the largest-ever Indian event in Australia.
Sushil Wadhwa, chairman, Platinum World Incentives Mumbai, said: “We have sent several incentive groups from the banking and insurance sectors to Melbourne and other parts of Victoria in the last eight years and have received wholesome support from MCB and other industry stakeholders there.”
According to Business Events Australia, Indian arrivals to Australia rose from 148,231 in 2011 to 159,420 in 2012, out of which business travellers numbered 28,860 and convention arrivals, 8,760.
Tourism Australia also measured a seven per cent increase in MICE business between 2011 and 2012, a figure it expects will grow by 10 per cent in 2013, and 12-15 per cent in 2014.
The first quarter of 2013 saw a 25 per cent increase in leisure arrivals from India, said Nishant Kashikar, country manager – India, Tourism Australia.