What is the objective of MICE Expo vis a vis the Indian market? What kind of participation do you expect from India?
The objective of the Sri Lanka MICE Expo 2021 is to showcase the MICE capabilities of the industry and thereby to voice the message that Sri Lanka is ready to welcome MICE travellers for meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions and events. The MICE Expo consists of a Virtual Exhibition, four Business Forums and engaging experiences. To ensure a high level of engaging experiences, organisers have planned virtual visitor experiences such as Master MICE Challenge, Visitor Competitions, Tea Experiences, Culinary Experiences, Relaxation Activities and Tree Planting.
India is the main market for Sri Lanka’s MICE sector with the air connectivity, lesser travel time, trade transactions and the convenience to travel between the two countries. The total tourist arrivals from India to Sri Lanka recorded as 355,002 in 2019 before Covid-19. SLCB estimates that out of total tourist arrivals, around 15 pc-20 pc visitors represent MICE travellers. The economic and political relationship between the two countries will help to increase this number further.
Considering the importance of the market, SLCB expect larger representation of MICE buyers from India to connect with the event. The Indian destination weddings has also envisaged a booming trend and potential segment for Sri Lanka. Link with Indian wedding planners is also expected through the MICE Expo 2021.
What has been MICE business that Sri Lanka was getting from India pre-pandemic? Which segment was most active?
All segments, meetings, conferences, incentives & exhibitions have been more active before Covid-19. Further, the development of destination weddings sectors is also an important segment for Sri Lanka.
How soon do you foresee a revival of MICE from India?
We are of view that Sri Lanka can expect MICE traffic from January 2022 onwards, adhering to all health and safety measures.
What are the new features/destinations in MICE that you can talk of?
Sri Lanka has partnered with world leading international hotel brands to develop infrastructure for the industry. These include Intercontinental, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt. Four Season and Radisson. The development of Cinnamon Life, the latest integrated resort in Colombo, will add more venues, facilities and luxury experience for MICE travellers.
Similarly, the development of Port City will add more avenues for MICE and events industry to provide world class experience to the MICE travellers.
Sri Lanka combines MICE with experiences and the positioning strategy focused on authenticity, diversity and compactness. Sri Lanka is very famous for its beaches and the mandatory sun, sand and the sea, as well as wildlife, nature, adventure and heritage. Sri Lanka combines MICE with above wonderful experiences to make the journey memorable in Sri Lanka.