MICE tourism may never fully recover from COVID-19: GlobalData
30 July 2020: Meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism was one of the first sectors to be severely impacted by the global spread of COVID-19. At the same time, it could be one of the last sectors to fully return as international business arrivals are projected to fall by 35.3% in 2020, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
MICE events are now taking place online what is called as virtual events, without the need for companies operating in the tourism sector as attendees can experience the event from their homes using their mobile or laptop. “This is a worrying trend for all industries involved in travel and tourism – the length restrictions and guidelines last around MICE tourism, the more companies, attendees and event organizers may start to become accustomed to hosting and attending MICE events online, whilst appreciating the unseen benefits they bring,” said Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData.
Companies in all sectors will be looking for ways to reduce costs in the coming years as they reel from the economic impact resulted out of prolonged battle called COVID-19. Business travel is a costly expense for all companies, and with the rise of video conferencing software such as Zoom and Google Meet, many will realize that this type of ongoing expense is unnecessary.
“The potential of MICE trips are now being seen as an unnecessary financial burden, business travellers themselves may not be keen to undertake the frequent and often stressful trips they were performing pre-pandemic. The ongoing danger of contracting the virus at a MICE event paired with the fact that business travellers can now achieve the same objectives and goals of a conference in the comfort of their own home, means that demand for many MICE events is likely to fall,” says Ralph Hollister.
And for that matter, consider that vaccines and definite medicine are yet to be discovered at the time of reporting this news, while the deadly coronavirus is as powerful as it was at the beginning and still spreading far and wide with the continued rise in the cases and death rates. As such, one-metre social distancing, a ban on mass gathering and travel restrictions are still part of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
“Although, likely, meeting and conference tourism demand may never fully recover, exhibitions and trade fairs, on the other hand, are much more effective when they take place face-to-face due to attendee motivations around networking and assessing and experiencing products and services in person. However, due to the mass gatherings of people that these kinds of events encourage, it is unclear when it will be safe and secure to start holding these events once again,” he adds.