MICE tourism (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) in the city will soon be revitalized thanks to the successful execution of the Kochi stage of the 25th Kerala International Film Festival (IFFK).

Tourism industry stakeholders were hoping that MICE tourism, which had stalled for a year, would be revived as it now became clear that events like film festivals could be safely organized if the COVID protocol were strictly followed.

Kochi was one of the top destinations in India for MICE tourism until the pandemic broke out. To maximize the potential of MICE tourism, several entrepreneurs had invested heavily in the region, according to a government release, by building hotels and conference rooms with five-star facilities.

Until COVID-19, national and international conferences with up to 1,000 participants each took place in Kochi. It has been estimated that a conference tourist spends $ 1,400-1,500 while a regular tourist spends $ 500 a day. In fact, it was difficult to book hotel rooms and call taxis when such conferences were being organized in the city and its suburbs.

Most of the actors in MICE tourism have been frustrated thinking it could be years before the pandemic situation ends and conferences return. The success of events like IFFK appears to have instilled the confidence of tourism industry stakeholders in Kochi. They agree that tourism could be fully, if not immediately, revived.

Although there is still a long way to go before normalcy is returned to the tourism sector in Kochi, IFFK’s successful behavior in the city will spark growth, experts said. Incidentally, the film festival was the largest conference exhibition organized in the state last year.

Kamal, chairman of the Kerala State Chalachithra Academy, pointed out that no attendees at the Thiruvananthapuram film festival reported having signed COVID-19. The festival gave a boost to efforts by the state to get normal life back on track. It also provided a boost to the battered economic scenario.

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