Saturday, December 4, 2021
Similar to all other sectors of tourism, the MICE travel industry has also been largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the new year starts to set in, companies and travel providers are looking forward to restart MICE tourism with renewed hope and vigour. It is also being considered that the face of the business travel industry is likely to change post the pandemic. Read on to know about how MICE tourism would look like in the ‘New Normal.’
More responsible MICE Tourism
The year after the COVID-19 pandemic will bring in an era of responsible corporate travel. The entire industry will work towards regaining traveller confidence by showing that travel can resume in a safe manner. Moreover, with so many events going virtual in 2020, travelling for business will only be suggested only when absolutely necessary at least until the world completely recovers from the effect of the pandemic. Members of C-suite, essential workers and salespeople are likely to be the early adopters of corporate travel.
Business Travel will return in phases
As the companies and their employees prepare to travel for work once again, they will undertake a phased approach based on sector, proximity and reason for travel. Travel planners will identify segments of business that are likely to return to travel first and plan their trips accordingly. Besides government regulations and health and safety policies, employees’ willingness to travel will also be considered. Employees’ confidence in travel is also likely to develop gradually as the world recovers and not all at once. Some experts are of the opinion that there will be a need to establish a one to three months of buffer time in order to ensure safety.
Safety will be the key
Maintenance of proper safety standards will be the ultimate goal of the MICE tourism sector this year. Companies will prioritise the health and safety of their employees and associates and expect travel providers to do the same. Businesses will certainly raise the bar on safety protocols and may require employees to abide by government guidelines according to changing COVID-19 border policies, quarantine requirements, and necessary documentation. Maintaining social distancing and usage of face coverings is also likely to be mandatory at all corporate gatherings.
More focus on regional and domestic MICE destinations
As international travel will take a longer time to rebound, regional and domestic business travel will return faster. In a time when international travel involves government policies, quarantine requirements and similar complex processes, domestic travel appears to be simpler and safer. More focus is already being given to promote regional and domestic MICE destinations and business travellers are also looking forward to visit locations closer to their homes.
Technology will be at the forefront
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has started to play an even more important role in MICE tourism. As corporate travel plans to return with a greater priority on safety, technology will play an important role in the recovery. From bookings to luggage drop-offs, check-ins and check-outs everything will become more and more safe and personalised with the help of touchless mobile technology. Advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality is also bringing various changes to the business travel industry with the help of biometrics, facial recognition, and even AI robots.
Sustainability will be prioritised
The shift to remote working process due the pandemic has resulted in a much lower rate of emissions in 2020 with an increased consciousness about sustainability among travellers. Many businesses are now mindful about their role in climate change and is planning to establish more sustainable ways of corporate travel like travelling with a low carbon footprint and supporting local communities among others. Business travellers are also likely to open up for more environment friendly transportation systems that are safer as well as cheap.