MICE Tourism –An Introduction

The term "MICE" in the context of travel is acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions. It refers to a specialized niche of group tourism dedicated to planning, booking and facilitating conferences, seminars, trade fairs and other events.

The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry is extensively and rapidly growing and is largely associated with travel for business purpose. Each different subsection of MICE have quite different characteristics but as a whole they are referred to as MICE Tourism. The MICE industry – a service industry combining trade, transportation, finance, and travel – has been active in Europe and America for over a century. Despite the development of telecommunications and the current financial crisis, the need for direct contact has always existed and will always be there. Today, countries all over the world are putting their best foot forward to develop the MICE industry as a means to enliven national economic development.

MICE - The Importance of Business Tourism

MICE tourism involves a number of components. They include corporate meeting planners; meetings and convention departments of hotels, conference centers or cruise ships; food and beverage managers; logistics firms; private tour operators and transfer companies; incentive houses; professional trade organizations; tourism boards, tourism trade associations and travel-selling professionals.

In current times, MICE has unquestionably earned the tag of being ‘the fortune changer’ of national economies across the globe. It is fascinating to note that for the Dubai national economy, MICE drives 5% of total country revenues, for Thailand – the country generates a whopping 93 billion baht from the MICE industry. USA tops the chart generating USD 113 billion annually. The UK events industry achieves 60 billion pounds per annum, while Malaysia clocks in excess of RM 20 billion from MICE annually. Interestingly, Berlin the events capital of Europe is home to 360 events / 30000 visitors a day (131,000 events each year), generating Euro 2.2 billion annually.

"Almost 350 billion dollars are spent annually on the MICE market across the globe."


Meetings can be Formal or informal deliberative assembly of individuals called to debate certain issues and problems, and to take decisions.





Incentive travel has emerged as a popular means of rewarding the employees’ achievements and contributions, by several business houses especially multinational companies, Insurance Companies, Banks etc. One of the main reasons why corporate spend on this segment is that an executive travelling abroad, whether to attend a conference / exhibition or even on a holiday, is bound to strike business opportunities during the visit.

Incentive Tours market has become the fastest growing sector within the tourism industry.




Conferences or conventions are generally described as multi-day events attended by at least a hundred delegates for the purpose of exchanging business information. The difference between meetings and conferences lies in, both, the number of people attending and the duration of the event.

Factors used for Considering the Venue for an International Conference

Rank Factor Score
1 Business / Networking 7.8
2 Total Cost 5.8
3 Conference Facilities 5.6
4 Miscellaneous Facilities 5.6
5 Connectivity 5.4
6 Accomodation 4.4
7 Immigration 4.0
8 Tourism 3.1
9 Other Recreation 3.1



Exhibitions involve the drawing together of corporate leaders and business-minded people for the purposes of viewing products and services of different enterprises and business groups. The E in MICE is sometimes also applied to Events. In such cases it covers corporate events or it could even be sporting events.






Comments on MICE

"24% of business in hotels in globe is MICE driven. Almost 84% of the business is actually still coming from the corporates and other 16% from associations and the likes. 83% of buyers within the Asia Pacific region wanted to stay in the region for their meetings and conferences. That shows the potential of the region and as Asia grows, meetings and conferences will play a huge part in the success of all our businesses."

"Between 1.2 to 1.5 million Indians will travel only for MICE purposes. These might include going abroad, or those who will attend meetings and conferences, exhibitions within India. These 1.2 to 1.5 million people will induce expenses of more than Rs 5,000 crore or approx 1 to 1.3 billion US dollars."

For Indians, the emerging number one destination in Europe is Germany. Other emerging countries are the UK, Italy, France and Switzerland. In the short-haul segment, Middle East is quite popular, especially Dubai, which is the number one destination for Indians in the region

"25% to 30% of the hotel business today is from MICE. Many hotel companies look at MICE in a big way when it comes to partnering or managing hotels. They consider location, facilities, design and other elements. A lot of thinking goes into the planning of a successful MICE event."

Europe gets 50% of the world’s MICE market. The number two region is Asia Pacific and the Middle East with 20% market share. Then comes the US at about 15% followed by Latin America at 10% and rest of the world contributes that is left over. The number one and number two cities across the world are Paris and Vienna.

The emerging trend in MICE is 'newness'. Destinations themselves have to look at providing 'experiences'. We need partners who provide not only safety, but guarantee of knowledge and guarantee of delivery. And delivery is not only pre-trip delivery, in-trip delivery, but also post-trip delivery. Offering ‘Recognition' is another factor. All these are intangibles, but they make for a great trip versus a good trip.