MICE is a four letter word

CedarWoods of Sandton conference

It appears the industry is – once more – regurgitating the well-worn question: Should the industry – collectively – be called business events or MICE?

Business events are focused on the prime requirements of business tourism. In other words, the travel, accommodation and peripheral tourism aspects of a gathering of people are the first priority.

The term business events is not used in any other country except South Africa. The word conventions are primarily used in the USA and Canada while the word meetings are in general use in Europe.

Proof of the term business events as a tourism focus is that weddings, charity golf undertakings, festivals, prominent wine tastings and the like do not enter the business events terminology. The reasons are obvious, as they are limited if no tourism products are prominent.

MICE is the acronym for the four most prominent types of gatherings – Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions – that require specifically differing types of planning structures.  Thereafter the secondary focus is on the travel, accommodation etc as a part of the expenditure mix per line item.  MICE is used extensively within the majority of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa)  Also Thailand, Japan, Australia and New Zealand use the acronym MICE extensively.

Of course the tourism industry would certainly prefer to swallow-up the MICE industry under the guise of business tourism. The seriously confused entities that are out there are those that are termed MICE yet every part of their communications and marketing is in fact the range of tourism products but implying MICE expertise.

While there are the vast majority of MICE undertakings – 65% – that do not involve any significant range of tourism products – the acronym MICE will prevail long after the word business events has long gone.