SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
Germany topped the charts among Indians for MICE with 62 per cent Indian companies choosing the country as the most preferred business travel destination in 2011-12. “We are upbeat that we will beat our own record in the coming years. In the future we see Germany becoming a more preferred location for company offsites, incentives and large scale events owing to the great value for money the country offers,” said Romit Theophilus, director for marketing and sales office India, German National Tourist Office (GNTO). Cities like Berlin, Hamburg and regions such as the Black Forest Highlands are already becoming favourites for the Indian corporate sector. Destination Germany had a steady growth of 10.4 per cent from January – September 2012 translating to 456,615 visitor overnights. “With more discerning Indian travellers and corporates discovering Destination Germany we expect this steady growth to continue in the future as well,” added Theophilus.
Two new destinations that is doing well for the Indian market for MICE travel, and more specifically incentive travel, are Berlin and Hamburg.
“These cities have witnessed large groups from various banks and entertainment companies in 2012. With the filming of the movie DON 2 in Berlin the city has received increased interest from the Indian traveller. Further we do see a lot of potential for the Black Forest Highlands and the Berchtesgaden region for increased MICE movements from India. These regions offer unique and exiting activities for corporates. Black Forest Highlands offer great scenic beauty mixed with some unique activities such as baking an authentic Black Forest cake, or enjoying self drives, all this and more at very affordable and attractive prices,” mentioned Theophilus.
Innovative experiences and events like gala dinners, wellness spa, white water rafting, exciting salt mines, etc, are also forming an integral part of itineraries for MICE providers.
“Germany leads in MICE but we want to highlight the leisure side of Germany. Germany has in fact come out in the open with the ‘affordable hospitality’ offer. What it constitutes –accommodation in luxury hotels for less than 150 euros a night (non trade fair times). For the discerning exposed traveller there are diverse exclusive options as well,” said Theophilus.
He pointed out that regions such as the Black Forest Highlands are offering great benefits with deals such as the Hoschwarzwald Card (more commonly known as the Red Card), offering free public transport and accommodation to any of the visitors living in their partner hotels for two overnights.
Further, most big cities offer city welcome cards to help travellers minimise travelling costs and gain benefits on discounts being offered by museums and other attractions, etc.