Mumbai: The Maharashtra government is expected to set up its own convention centre, with a seating capacity of nearly 20,000, by 2018 to host large meetings, conferences and other events.
The government, instead of going in for a usual convention centre, is focusing on building a convention centre that will tap into Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) tourism, in which large groups are usually planned in advance and brought together for a specific purpose, an official from the state finance department said.
The centre will have a capacity to accommodate 18,000 to 20,000 people and employ around 900 to 1,800 people. “The convention centre will be located close to the Mumbai airport. Taking lessons from the shortcomings at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi and recent fire that engulfed the Maharashtra Rajani programme at Girgaum Chowpatty here, the proposed convention centre will be fire compliant, have well laid out entrance and exit points.
“The government has fixed a deadline of 2018 by which it wants the convention centre ready,” the official said. The convention centre will have large exhibition halls, meeting rooms, theatres, auditoriums and foyers. “The government had asked KPMG to conduct a study of convention centres the world over,” he said, adding that international-level convention centres cover an area between three to four lakh square feet.
The government is yet to decide on whether to construct the convention centre through Public Private Participation (PPP) mode or on its own, he said. “Tourism accounts for 23 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The average footfall of tourists in Mumbai is around 5.5 lakh out of which 50 per cent tourists stay back for business purposes,” he said.
At present, state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya are whetting the proposal for its viability and its location, he said. The convention centre will also boost the hotel industry, leading to an upgradation of several smaller hotels to meet the ever increasing demands for accommodation of tourists, he said.
“Besides this, the government has set up a committee, headed by Minister for Finance and Industries, which will meet every two months to deliberate and give boost to the industrial sector,” he added.