India is in the optimum position to capitalise on the cruise opportunity besides having an interesting cruise liner wanting to come to the Indian port and the booming demand. Apart from having the 3rd longest coastline in the world, this has largely been due to introduction of homeport itineraries like Mumbai to Goa, Mumbai to Coachin, Coachin to Maldives and Maldives to Mumbai, bringing cruising closer to the Indian traveller. It has been observed that in addition to the elite families, travel enthusiasts across various sectors in Indian corporates are looking at cruises as MICE destinations for a memorable experience.
Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) is a type of tourism in which large groups, usually planned well in advance, are brought together. Other industry educators are recommending the use of “events industry” to be an umbrella term for the vast scope of the meeting and events and profession. MICE events are usually based on a theme or topic and are aimed at a professional, school, academic or trade organization or other special interest group. Examples: Medical Facilities, Theme Parks
The introduction of home-porting itineraries from Mumbai, cruising has come closer to the Indian traveller and from a MICE perspective there are eased out visa requirements and flights, as the itineraries are domestic or to ports like the Maldives, where there is visa is on arrival for Indians. The corporate are eyeing the growing number of Indians looking for a affordable cruise holidays and are docking at major ports such as Mumbai, Goa, and Kochi with new India specific travel plans. They are offering a host of inspired cuisines and restaurants around the world, and also wellness treatments with entertainment activities such as games, music shows, tournaments, parties, karaoke, treasure hunts, theme evenings among others.
MICE industry is thriving in India as the corporates are interested to explore various locations to host meetings and conferences. Cruiseliners are promoting ships as a venue for different purposes like MICE, wedding, celebrations and holidays. The main reason behind the growth of MICE on cruise ships is ease in handling groups onboard a cruise ship as it offers an all inclusive destination. It unites work and leisure activities on the cruise ship. Everything is available on the ship, from meeting venues and award ceremonies on ship theatre to the leisure activities in the various lounges, pool decks and bars on the cruise. The ease of having everything at one place enhances not only the attendance in terms of the meetings onboard, but gives travellers the flexibility to do whatever they choose to do in the evening.