Time to recognise the role of the exhibition sector: Sachin Patil

Sachin Patil, managing director and CEO, Messe Stuttgart India, explains why Union Budget 2024 should recognise the pivotal role of the exhibition and trade fair sector in propelling India onto the global stage.

30 Jan 2024 | By PrintWeek Team

Sachin Patil, managing director and CEO, Messe Stuttgart India

As we stand on the cusp of the Union Budget 2024, it is crucial to recognise the pivotal role that the exhibition and trade fair sector plays in propelling India onto the global stage. India's emergence as a major hub for international events, exhibitions, and conferences is both promising and challenging.

The future growth prospects for this sector are immense, and it’s heartening to witness growing interest from foreign trade bodies and industry associations. This underscores the tremendous potential that our country holds as a MICE destination. However, for India to truly emerge as a global MICE powerhouse, we must extend our focus beyond metro cCities to other tier-II cities. A decentralised approach to event infrastructure development will not only distribute economic benefits more equitably but also enhance the accessibility and reach of international events.

Reflecting on Germany's post-World War II history also provides a compelling example. The nation's resurgence was significantly aided by the meticulous organisation of trade fairs that showcased cutting-edge technology from across the world. 

The Mittlestand, Germany's small and medium-sized enterprises, played a pivotal role by backing the innovations exhibited at these events. Drawing inspiration, India should incentivise its MSME sector to actively participate in international trade fairs. Government support can catalyse the growth of our MSMEs, enabling them to leverage international platforms, just as Germany did to propel itself into a strong and developed nation.

In light of this, I would like to emphasise the importance of supportive measures from the government. A reduction in GST rates for the MICE sector would not only make India a more attractive destination but also strengthen our position on the global MICE map. This reduction can catalyse increased participation from both domestic and international stakeholders.

As we look towards the upcoming budget, my suggestion to the Finance Minister is to consider policies that foster the rapid development of world-class events infrastructure. India's ambitions as a major manufacturing hub necessitate a robust events ecosystem comparable to or even surpassing that of our global counterparts, notably China.

Investing in state-of-the-art infrastructure will not only enhance our ability to host large-scale events but will also contribute significantly to the overall economic growth. It's imperative that the budget addresses the specific needs of the exhibition and Trade Fair sector, paving the way for India to seamlessly transition into a global MICE powerhouse.

I remain optimistic that the Union Budget 2024 will reflect the government's commitment to fostering the growth of this sector, ultimately positioning India as a premier destination for international events.