ES. World Trade Centre Mumbai is one of the well established Venues in India. Please tell us about facilities provided by the WTC that makes it apart from other venues in terms of MICE capabilities
Rupa. World Trade Center (WTC) Mumbai is strategically located in the heart of the financial and commercial capital of India, providing an array of state-of-the-art venues to hold meetings, exhibitions and conferences, catering to all business requirements. The location is a two-hour flight distance from any major city and in close proximity to state government offices, major business hubs, hotels, entertainment zones and famous tourist spots. WTC Mumbai venues are the most sought after by business and trading communities to plan their meetings, exhibitions and conferences. Our USP lies in providing the ultimate experience in organising business-to-business and business-to-consumer meetings in South Mumbai. Our facilities offer well appointed, centrally air-conditioned rooms and halls and are available in various settings, from large conference venues of 300 persons to small ones of 10 persons as per the organisation’s specifications. The banquet rooms serve as ideal venue for hosting corporate meetings, annual general meetings, press conferences, seminars, workshops, training programmes, arbitrations, business and educational Interviews, among others.
The venues are well packaged with value-added services such as internet wi-fi service, electrical and engineering support, ample car parking, centrally air-conditioning, 24×7 security arrangements with CCTV surveillance, empanelled contractors for stall design and construction, catering services, branding spaces within the complex, store rooms, telephone facilities, freight elevators and in-house audio-visual facilities.
ES. Please tell us something interesting about the inception of your venue as a MICE destination
Rupa. WTC Mumbai venues for MICE were constructed with a view to draw the crème-de-la-crème institutions and organisations to organise international meetings and conferences. Besides, WTC Mumbai is a premier World Trade Center in India and a member of World Trade Centers Association, New York (WTCA, NY). WTCA has an unparallel network of 326 World Trade Centers connecting trade globally across 91 countries representing over 1 million businesses across sectors.
The venues are in an ideal location and are constantly upgraded to meet the business needs of emerging entrepreneurs, overseas commercial and trade offices. Located in a prime business surrounding, the venues have easy access to hotels, restaurants and public transport system, most importantly the upcoming metro line 3.
ES. What number of MICE events is organized at WTC in a year? Please Name some big MICE events organized in WTC?
Rupa. Across 100+ exhibitions and promotional activities and over 600 meetings and conferences are held in WTC Mumbai throughout the year. Some of the major events include Fibres and Yarns, Upper Crust Show, Thailand Week, Vertical Marathon, Scat India Trade Show and others. Several trade delegations from across the world utilise banquet halls to organise meetings and promote their business and explore new markets and trade partners.
ES. How do you utilise technology and innovation to engage your MICE guests?
Rupa. The venues on offer are packaged with value-added services with the appropriate use of technology and innovation. We utilise online venue management system, dedicated broadband line, empanelled vendors to offer consistency in services, flexibility in organising various types of events with necessary government licenses and permits.
ES. What is your view about sustainable development? What is the latest trend use at WTC which makes it way ahead from other venues?
Rupa. The idea of sustainable development is at the core of all activities and services of WTC Mumbai. Keeping environment in mind, WTC Mumbai has taken several initiatives which include rooftop solar paneling, e-waste bins, composting machine, pet bottle crusher machine, green design for maximum use of natural light and energy efficient lighting design. These have significantly contributed to sustainable practices.
ES. Please share your personal journey in MICE industry. How has the journey been, what have been major milestone and accomplishments, what have been the major challenges and how did you overcome them?
Rupa. The journey thus far has been an enriching one, enabling me to make a sizable contribution towards promoting WTC Mumbai as a number one destination to hold MICE events. In my view the concept of MICE was only coined quite recently. However, WTC Mumbai and other WTCs across the world were conceptualised, planned and designed to hold MICE events way back in the 70s, besides, being prime locations for commercial establishments. Hosting MICE events in WTC Mumbai is prestigious and provides a unique experience.
With the construction of the Expo Center and subsequent inauguration by Mr. Morarji Desai, the then Prime Minister of India, WTC Mumbai became the forerunner in providing exhibition services in the city of Mumbai. The Expo Center was the first commercial complex in Mumbai to have an escalator and major exhibitions were held at this venue namely Photofair, Context-India, Kids World (earlier Kids Kingdom), SCat India Trade Show, to name a few. The exhibition industry is growing at a fast pace alongside the infrastructure catering to meetings and conferences with state-of-the-art facilities. WTC Mumbai offers venues at very competitive rates for exhibitions, meetings and conferences including arbitration. As a result of modern infrastructure and innovative services offered, WTC Mumbai received many prestigious awards. WTC Mumbai was certified by WTCA for Superior Quality Performance for – trade information, trade education, tenant and exhibition facilities & service; and Standards of Excellence for – conference facilities, business services, group trade missions and trade technology innovations.
The only challenge faced by WTC Mumbai is that it is ill-equipped to organise large exhibitions in view of the space limitation and infrastructure constraints.
ES. What differences do see between the MICE sector in India and Abroad?
Rupa. In the Indian scenario, development of MICE venues is yet in the nascent stage which is now gaining recognition as an emerging area. There is an urgent need to scale them up into convention centers. This is because the cost of construction and property prices are becoming prohibitive in the main city, also infrastructure facilities to organise MICE events are not easily available. Therefore, lack of infrastructure facilities are being faced by MICE venue providers. While internationally, convention centers are built to house huge MICE venues with all facilities and services under one-roof. There is no dearth of space, as land is available and allocated to build such convention centers.
ES. How do you see Indian MICE Industry?
Rupa. This industry offers tourism services in which organisers and suppliers manage and deliver meetings, conferences, exhibitions, and other related events to achieve a range of professional, business, cultural, or academic objectives. Therefore, there is huge potential to promote MICE industry in India. There is an urgent need to identify cities that have the potential to promote MICE events.
ES. What are the opportunities in the MICE sector?
Rupa. The MICE sector can unlock a plethora of opportunities for the business community. They include revamping international airports, airlines expanding their footprint to key cities across the globe, logistics, transport and the tourism sector as a whole.
ES. As a venue, how much of your business comes through MICE?
Rupa. WTC Mumbai is primarily a trade promotion and support organisation which offers trade infrastructure that includes commercial spaces for both public and private sectors to conduct meetings, conferences and exhibition venues, as also undertake trade promotion activities, research and education on international trade. It also provides commercial spaces for MICE events. Approximately, 20-25 percent of business comes from MICE events. This confirms that there is huge potential to enhance revenue under MICE. Understanding its importance, we are taking active steps to enhance the share of MICE revenue.
ES. What privileges do you offer for MICE guests
Rupa. As value-added services that come with the venues, we offer our clients internet wi-fi service, electrical and engineering support, ample car parking, centrally air-conditioning, 24×7 security arrangements with CCTV surveillance, empanelled contractors for stall design and construction, catering services, branding spaces within the complex, store rooms, telephone facilities, freight elevators and in-house audio-visual facilities.
ES. What kind of challenges you face in this sector which you would want the government top address urgently?
Rupa. The government must provide incentives to the MICE sector as a result of policy changes such as Goods and Services Tax (GST). It must relax visa norms through the introduction of e-visas for MICE events and also conduct MICE promotions through road shows. Easing regulations that govern MICE businesses would provide necessary thrust to the industry. There is need to develop suitable exhibition space and related infrastructure in areas in and around large cities and areas where exhibitions can be held. There is the need for convention bureaus to register MICE events as is done in states across Maharashtra and cities such as Hyderabad.
ES. What kind of support systems do you have for an event organiser?
Rupa. In addition to the value-added services on offer World Trade Center Mumbai is visible on social networking sites to promote exhibitions. The Center also provides listings of its exhibitions in leading periodicals to create the much-required awareness of exhibitions and venues. Branding activities such as standees are designed and placed at prominent locations in the premises to create awareness of upcoming exhibitions.
ES. What are your upcoming plans?
Rupa. We review and strategise campaigns for our venues as per industry standards. We resort to digital marketing and social media campaigns to create business models to achieve greater targets, so that there is 100% occupancy. In order to keep up to MICE industry standards, WTC Mumbai upgrades its existing venues on a periodic basis. Industry 4.0 offers excellent opportunity to use the content and data generated from various MICE events. We plan to use artificial intelligence and data analytics to help organisers in optimising the marketing and infrastructure cost to organise MICE events and thereby enhance competitiveness.