Rakesh Kumar Verma, IAS (PB: 1993), Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Chairman, ICPB shares his vision and talks about M!CE industry evolving post COVID-19
Rakesh Kumar Verma, IAS (PB: 1993), Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, elaborating on the relevance of M!CE tourism said, “M!CE tourism is a very important component of tourism ministry and we are focusing on developing this sector. India has great opportunity for growing this sector. We have recently launched a Champion Sector scheme to give impetus to M!CE tourism. We are trying to improve our rank and increase the number of meetings which are happening in our country. As a Ministry we will facilitate the bureau in taking this sector forward. The scheme reimburses part of the expenditure on hotel stay by the foreigners during the event. We will start this scheme from April 1 this year. There are certain conditions but broadly for the first night’s stay, the GST charged on the stay will be reimbursed to the customer.” “The convention centre in Dwarka will be ready very soon and it will be a big advantage to this sector and offer opportunities to organise large number of conventions in India. ITPO is also going in for a refurbishment, that will be a good addition. We are trying to develop these facilities at other locations also so that we can have a greater number of meetings and M!CE events in the country.”
He further stated, ”
M!CE is one of the priority sectors in the new tourism policy 2020. We have a lot of provisions for M!CE tourism, so it will definitely get a very important place in our new policy.
” On the impact of COVID-19, he said, “It’s definitely a challenging time for the industry, I am sure all of us together with the industry will do whatever is possible. When times are normal, we benefit from them, we come back with greater vigour and determination to succeed. These are the times when you are facing public health crisis and emergencies and you have to take tough decisions. I am sure we will get over this crisis and the future that awaits us is much brighter.” “We have set a very high target of a $5 trillion economy by 2025. How the segment of M!CE tourism can play a role in the same, is what we need to put our minds to. We need to look at our long-term goals, where we want to reach. We may be growing at 12 per cent, we may be at the 25th position, but what is our aspiration? In next five years we will want to be in top 10 or top five, obviously it has to be realistic but aspirational too. Our schemes have to match that vision. Also, when a country organises a high-level event, it raises the profile of the country, may that be Commonwealth Games or an important conference, there is huge dissemination of knowledge,” he added