MKTE 2019: Business Events and MICE Can Seriously Boost Tourism

Event Africa Contributor 04/10/2019 Uncategorized

Meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions and events (MICE) is a growing market that feeds into the travel and tourism industry, offering far more ROI than FIT travellers.

In a focus group on the business events sector, Event Africa Publisher Lance Gibbons headed up a discussion at MKTE around the importance of business events, and how even small tourism operators and hospitality owners can tap into the corporate market for additional revenue during off-season.

Also in the focus group was Jeffers Miruka, President of AfSAE (African Society of Association Executives) and Tes Proos, who heads up the local chapter of SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Executives). In very simple terms, each explained how tourism stakeholders can take hold of MICE opportunities, what these are, how they can ready their products to meet expectations, and more.

“Developing MICE can have great advantages for a destination,” Miruka said. These include stimulating the economy, especially in low season, developing better tourism infrastructure, increasing expenditure, and converting MICE travellers into returning leisure travellers. “MICE travellers generally spend more money than leisure travellers, and in less time,” he added, noting that they might also extend their stay or even bring the family along on their trip.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

The direct impact of global business events is massive. According to insight from 2017, more than 1.5billion participants were involved in this industry across more than 180 countries. The direct spending generated was more than $1.07 trillion – this includes spending to plan and produce events, as well as business events-related travel and exhibitor spend.

In terms of job creation, this sector has supported over 10.3 million direct jobs globally and generated $621.4 billion in direct GDP. After accounting for indirect and induced impacts, business events supported a total global economic impact in 2017 of:

  • $2.5 trillion in output (business sales)
  • 26 million jobs
  • $1.5 trillion in GDP

How you can attract MICE clients

Miruka explained in a few easy steps how to attract business events clients to your product offering.

  1. Define your market: “This is the stage where you get a clear understanding of what value you have to offer and which clients appreciate this most.”
  2. Create a unique landing page for MICE: “Once you know your audience, it’s time to act and to spread the word about your magnificent venue.”
  3. Strike for repeat customers: “Be sure to create long-lasting connections, as this is crucial for the MICE sector. If you manage to ‘wow’ your client, you can expect a repeat customer.”
  4. Check where the government stands on MICE: “This industry is quite beneficial for the economy and for tourism in particular as it is normally a non-seasonal activity.”

SITE Announces Africa Chapter

Tes Proos announced during the discussion that SITE Global will be forming a dedicated SITE Africa chapter for the continent. This will allow for incentive travel growth in the tourism sector, another segment of the business events industry that offers high-end experience-driven incentives to corporates who want to motivate their teams.

She said that although incentive travellers expect a certain level of quality, your customer relations and rapport go a long way in strengthening a relationship. It is also important to note that incentive houses have global competition, so they need to be up to standard to pitch their destination or product as more unique than Thailand or Bali, for instance.

Gibbons added that if not incentives, tourism stakeholders can still enter the corporate market by offering space for small team builds, corporate getaways, etc.

Event Africa is at Magical Kenya Travel Expo doing the show’s electronic daily news. For more information on MKTE, visit