I visited the city of joy last month to attend the 11th ICPB CIC Conclave, held at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, which is situated around 25 minutes from the Airport, in the New Kolkata. The infrastructure of the new town has been developed by HIDCO. The West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) is a public sector undertaking headquartered at Kolkata, which plans and executes buildings, projects, parks, museums and other construction activity like subways, over bridges and Monorail. Many well known constructions such as the KMOMA, New Town Eco Park, International Finance Hub of Kolkata, Rabindra Tirtha, Nazrul Tirtha, Vocational Training Institute, N-S Corridor, and the Bishwa Bangla Convention Center etc. are some of the projects developed by HIDCO in the new town. I was quite amazed to see the well planned spaces that have been prepared keeping the MICE aspect in mind. The infrastructure in the new town will lure the MICE sector as it has many offerings for the business traveller. An International BlockChain Conference & an International Conference on Sexual Harassment of Children are lined up next at the convention centre. New Kolkata boasts of many star hotels in the vicinity. A special IT Hub is also being planned there. And how can I forget to mention the mouth-watering traditional Bengali sweets, which I had at the Mishti Hub, situated next to the Eco-Park in the New Kolkata.
One of the interesting points which I heard at the MICE convention was that the tourism does not grow by itself. It grows on the back of a lot of factors like the infrastructure, civil aviation, government policies, safety, demographics, etc. and it is very important to connect the dots effectively to create a healthy eco-system, that sustains and builds tourism. It is important to adopt a ‘Horses for Courses’ approach that promotes unique characteristics of a destination as per the needs of the travellers. Incidentally, 52% of all travel happens due to MICE and MICE travellers usually stay longer, spend more and beat the seasonality jinx of the hoteliers. It is indeed saddening to learn that the typical taxation rate abroad is 6-9% but India has a much higher bracket, maybe because we still consider tourism as a luxury! While a lot needs to be done, we can see the mind-set evolving now as the Government of India is also thinking to create a corpus of funds to support the state governments to make the MICE events bigger and better!
I happened to meet a man who is a motivational speaker at various events held abroad. He told me of a new term – COOPETITION; that comes out from Cooperative & Competition! While competition makes us faster, collaboration makes us better. In today’s complex business environment, we need our competitors to remain in our eco-system, so that we ourselves can survive and grow! He told me that vulnerability is not a weakness. When we are vulnerable, it makes us alert and create opportunities to build trust. Trust builds relationships and relationships build businesses! It is very important that we create win-win relations otherwise they won’t last.