Photo of Taj Mahal, AgraEvery time India rises on the world stage, it roars a little louder. As India’s economic reach widens, tourism, corporate meetings and trade association events proliferate. Case in point: Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions is holding congress in Mumbai in July and Delhi in August. Three of India’s largest cities were ranked among Cvent’s Top 25 Asia Pacific (APAC) destinations for meeting planners in 2016 and 2017. In Cvent’s 2016 APAC rankings, Mumbai was No. 20. Bengaluru is currently ranked No. 25, and New Delhi is No. 12 in 2017 APAC rankings (up from No. 15 in 2016). U.S. companies—from United Technologies to Lowe’s—are major players. To borrow a popular dotcom phrase, the entire country is ripe with low-hanging fruit. High-tech gurus from Amazon, Apache, Google, HP Enterprise, IBM, Microsoft and Salesforce gather regularly in cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad to recruit talent, meet with colleagues and expand their global IT presence. In addition to technology and manufacturing, the country is known for harvesting silk and inventing chess, embracing yoga and playing cricket, practicing meditation and seeking divine truth. From Brahma and Indra to Shiva and Vishnu, Hindu deities abound. The food is incredible, especially if you like bold curries, subtle turmeric and other spices in rich, splendid sauces. The Taj Mahal temple and Durga Puja festivals are must-sees. India’s outdoor shopping bazaars are popular, while the continent’s tropical and subtropical foliage remains spectacular, balmy and intricately linked.
Photo of Gateway of India monument, MumbaiThe culture, like the climate, is diverse and can be intense. Modern Bollywood films are winning international acclaim, while India’s contemporary take on rap music—fused with syncopated synthesizers, drums and sitars—is dynamic, rhythmic and catchy. Although India conjures up exotic and mysterious images for Westerners, it’s the people—their families and communities—that give it its character. Indians are known for their keen intellects, warmth, sensitivity and eagerness to please visitors. Lack of exhibition venues with adequate space and quality nearby accommodations can be obstacles to global demand for large-scale meetings and international events, but options are emerging.