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Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions are part of the tourism sector that involves activities and events (Daniela, Patricia, and Cristiana 2011). Generally, the events involve individuals who gather in one area and have a common interest. Lau and Bureau (2016) explained that travellers who attend the MICE events are business people who have connections to tourism and hospitality sectors through the MICE events. Service providers of the MICE events consist of suppliers and organizers who provide different services related to businesses such as sponsorship management, staffing, logistics, supplier management, banners, displays, technical production, risk management services, and signage, and event marketing, among others (Hanson, et al., 2007). This essay consists of an overview of United Kingdom’s MICE’s industry, the types of events and characteristics, market size and structure, MICE related trends and impacts and finally the current legislation. There is also a comparison with other nations.
The MICE industry provide tourism services where the suppliers and organizers deliver and manage meetings, conferences, and other related events to achieve cultural, business, academic, or professional objectives (Tinnish and Mangal 2012). The affirmative growth of the MICE industry has a positive effect on the growth of businesses, destinations, cities, and other spectrums. On a global scale, the growth of corporate industries has been drastic. Therefore, this has triggered the increase in the frequency of business events and activities such as employee training, brand promotions, and client meetings, thus contributing to the growth of the MICE industry globally. Lau (2013) outlined significant factors that contribute to the market’s growth and they include; industrial growth, urbanisation, and the change in lifestyle among business travellers who seek leisure trips. The MICE industry has also surged due to continuous technological advancements and infrastructural development.
Fenich and Hashimoto (2010) defined a meeting as a place where people come together to carry out activities or serve a common goal. The MICE industry mostly refers to committee meetings, large scale meetings, annual general meetings, logistical planning, and other itinerary meetings. One of the main characteristics of meetings is that they are held on an ad hoc basis or other patterns, such as on an annual or quarterly basis. Furthermore, meetings that belong to the ad hoc category include business dinners and award evenings. These meetings are held by delegates who share a common interest or objective with an itinerary. For instance, Prague held the most meetings in 2018 recording over 4,500 events. The Czech metropolis hosted around 540,000 delegates who came from various global locations (Mice Central & Eastern Europe 2018). In comparison, in 2018 in the UK, over 4.51 billion pounds were spent on business travel with 8.45 million business tourists visiting the region spending 34 million nights in London’s various conference hotels and other facilities in the nation (Business Telegraph, 2019).
Incentive events take place due to instances such as; to enhance the loyalty of a company to customers, members, and shareholders and to offer rewards for performance. The duration of these events depends, and they take various forms such as short breaks, nights away, and day trips (Mohammadi and Mohamed 2010).
Some features that describe incentives include; they require accommodation or booking activities and transport, they may be local, a little further afield, abroad, or they may be a country retreat. As explained by Tinnish and Mangal (2012) the activities for incentives need careful planning and research in order to meet the expectations of the end-user and the client. Moreover, incentives also include teambuilding events depending on the activities available and the type of event.
This is a meeting that involves delegates’ participation where the common factors include consultation, problem-solving, fact-finding, and discussion (Rogers 2013). According to Rogers (2013) some of the features of a conference include; they do not have specific frequency patterns, the meetings are strategized by the company, governing laws, or the legislations of an industry. Conferences also involve expert speakers who focus on specific topics to inspire, engage, and inform the audience about certain objectives. An example of a conference is the upcoming United Nations 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow for the first time. It is estimated that conference and meetings spending in the UK are worth more than 19.2 billion pounds (Statista, 2017).
Exhibitions are events used to display products and services. As noted by Camilleri (2018, p.19), exhibitions are common in the art and creative corporations which show work collections at certain locations for a specific duration of time. An example of an exhibition is the fashion show. The main characteristics of exhibitions include building from a network of influential contacts and showcase new products, services, or designs. They are built in the company’s image and are also essential for collecting information about competitors. According to Mice Central & Eastern Europe (2018), China is one of the countries that hold the most exhibitions in the world, reaching a high of 5400 exhibitions and conferences in 2007 and this figure has been constant over the years. Moreover, the country has over 2.4 million square meters for exhibitions which rank third globally. In comparison, the UK MICE industry was valued at USD 882.84 Billion in 2018 and 2025 expected to be USD 1546.69 Billion. The hospitality sector accounts for 40% to 60% of the MICE’s industry revenue in the UK (Market Watch, 2020).
These are periodic events that show clients and potential clients a variety of possibilities on how they can acquire products or services that they may wish to have. Fairs last for several days, depending on their nature. Moreover, Sandy Sou and McCartney (2015) noted that they not only generate sales for the participating companies, but also help with the positioning and promotion of exhibitors.
The MICE industry is segmented based on the types of events and regions. With regards to the event type, the MICE market is segmented into meetings, incentives, and exhibitions (Smagina 2017). Furthermore, in relation to the region, the market is studied in four regions known as LAMEA, North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. The surge in the growth of travel, the hospitality sector, and tourism over the years has further contributed to the growth of meetings. However, this sector has seen a significant decline in 2020 due to travel restrictions imposed to curb Covid 19. Moreover, this has also reduced tourism across the globe and has affected not only the meeting segment but also the other segments.
Tinnish and Mangal (2012) acknowledged that the incentive segment, before the pandemic, was the fastest-growing segment. The market for this segment is driven by the increase in travel and the tourism industry as well as the increase in globalisation and infrastructural developments.
In 2017, the United Kingdom dominated the MICE industry, and this is expected to continue for the next half a decade. Allied Market Research (2018) conducted a study on the UK MICE industry and found out that the industry accounted for $805 billion in 2017 and this figure is expected to rise to $1,439 billion by 2025. This means that the industry will grow at a rate of 7.6% from 2018 to 2025. Nonetheless, Asia-Pacific and Europe accounted for more than 50% of the MICE industry share globally. Internet penetration and the usage of smart devices, as well as the demand for meetings, are some of the factors that influence the rise of the MICE industry in Europe (Wang and Luo 2018). In comparison, business travel has, however, increased in Asia-Pacific, and therefore, the industry is expected to surge in this region. Specifically, China’s MICE industry is growing at a 20% rate annually and the country holds more than 190, 000 social associations annually; a figure that exceed an annual income of 100 billion Yuan (Mice Central & Eastern Europe 2018). The drivers of this region in the industry, making it the fastest-growing region, include strong government policies from China, internet and technology, and regulated moderate growth of countries in the area.
One of the main trends of MICE is personalisation. It presents clients with new choices, inspirational activities, and meeting formats. Personalisation presents a shift from the traditional and delegate roles to more involvement and interaction from the audience (Anas Maddiah Noor Eizamly Sulaiman and Wee 2020). Technology is providing MICE attendees with the best experiences, making them participate more in the events. Apps that are created for the industry are revolutionising the events. Technology takes care of the feedback tools, registration, profiles, maps, and detailed programs. Moreover, events are extended beyond the conference week or meeting day since the attendees can connect with the delegates through LinkedIn, event-related apps, or email.
Anas et al., (2020) acknowledged that with the technology trend, the events can also be communicated and popularised through podcasts, video calls, reports, and tweets. This is especially true and much essential when the world is facing common problems due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The MICE industry has been highly affected by the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic around the world. Having registered more than 50,000,000 cases globally by October 2020, governments have put strict measures in place to curb the spread of the disease. In the UK alone, there are more than 1.2 million cases and the government moved to a second countrywide lockdown in the month of October. One of the characteristics of the MICE industry includes crowding, physical interaction, and intimate conversations are common. However, this has now been restricted due to the contagious Covid 19. Therefore, for business under this sector to be carried effectively, every directive from the government such as social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands regularly must be followed (Anas et al., 2020). The UK government has locked down the nation and restricted travel among other measures such as mandatory quarantine for people entering the country to minimise the surge of the disease. The unprecedented travel restrictions have reduced tourist arrivals by 20-30% in 2020 when compared to 2019. 80% of tourism businesses are SMEs and therefore, millions of jobs have been lost due to lack of international tourists. This has therefore reduced the number of people attending MICE functions drastically, and others have closed the business for the time being.
The industry faces management challenges and therefore, it has incorporated more stringent compliance and approval guidelines which make communication and planning with reliable partners more convenient than before (Lee 2016). Additionally, the MICE industry is making customisation to be an essential aspect for travelling customers. This will help to increase positive feedback from customers who find out that the experience is particularly tailored and designed for them. Moreover, this reduces pressure to the management who do not have to deal with much issues concerning customer satisfaction.
The Development of Tourism Act 1969 regulates the MICE industry. This act enhances tourism development in Great Britain by; improving hotels, registering hotels and other institutions that provide sleeping accommodation through trade or business, and protecting tourists from excess accommodation charges (Words 2005). The act is also essential to the MICE industry since it directs governments to provide public funds for the extension of hotels or the provision of new ones. Despite the specific powers that the act confers, it directs tourist boards to carry out various functions without prejudice or any form of discrimination. Some of these functions include; providing information and advice about services, undertaking research, promoting publicity, establishing committees for the industry, and advising them on their performance functions, and promoting the publicity of resources (Words 2005).
Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions belong to the tourism sector and they are essential for providing attendees with a platform for their events and activities. One of the main challenges that the MICE management may be facing is retaining a marketplace for their services since the industry continues to expand, and the competition for places is stiff. Various sectors have been growing tremendously for years. New market entrants with better services for events demand the expansion and renovation of the current ones. The MICE industry has regulations that maintain the smooth running of the business and the synergy of ideas, which contribute to increased sales and revenues. Nonetheless, the MICE industry brings its counterparts together to work in harmony to enhance customer satisfaction. Governments have the mandate to promote and support the MICE industry since it is an economy booster (Lee 2016).
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Wang, M. and Luo, Q., 2018. Exploring the MICE industry career path. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 30(5), 2308-2326. Words 2005. Wales Tourist Board (Transfer of Functions to the National Assembly for Wales and Abolition) Order 2005 (S.I. 2005/3225), art. 1(1), Sch. 1 para. 2(2) (with art.
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