Colombia-MICE is part of the Pelecanus Travel Group, a leading travel operator in Colombia. We are located in Bogota, Colombia. We specialize in corporate travel and all services around Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.
Origin of the MICE industry
Although there is not much information on the history of this sector, the first historical approach or origin of the MICE industry in Europe took place in 1814 when the Congress of Vienna was celebrated, as well as many other meetings on political, religious and cultural issues.
However, much of the story begins in 1841. That year, Thomas Cook, a famous British businessman, organized transportation for 540 people to the annual Temperance Convention Association.
This achievement is considered the first organized voyage, and while it did not bring great commercial success, Cook recognized that such activity represented potential future benefits. So years later he decided to set up a travel agency called Thomas Cook & Son, which is considered to be the first travel agency in history.
What is the history of the MICE industry?
Early approaches for the MICE industry
The beginnings of the meetings industry, or as it is now known, the MICE industry, lie in Europe and North America.
Throughout the 19th century, many institutions, particularly universities, had a growing need to exchange information with other academic organizations, paving the way for numerous meetings.
At the same time, thanks to the development of the railways, the hotel industry benefited from the high demand from travelers, which made it necessary to build hotels in the major railway stations.
On the other hand, as far as incentive trips are concerned, at the end of the century some companies saw the need to stimulate their employees in order to achieve greater motivation, which would increase the company’s production and profitability. This is how incentive trips came about.
The first incentive trip was in the United States in 1910 by the National Cash Register Company of Danton. Agents and distributors attended and were rewarded with a free trip to New York for their excellent results, applications, and job performance.
Over the years all kinds of events related to product promotion, annual board meetings and expert gatherings have become more and more obvious. At the beginning of the 20th century, more and more events and participants were included in the industry, so better training was introduced for those involved in the organization, especially those who worked in sales, which was the most important area.
The birth of the MICE industry
Based on the information you found in the Origin of the MICE Industry section, other key moments in history are considered to be the beginning of the industry.
As cities increasingly recognized the value and economic and social benefits of hosting meetings, a group of entrepreneurs decided, for the first time in history, to hire a vendor to recruit and host meetings across multiple industries for their city of Detroit, Michigan. In 1896 the first Convention Bureau was established in the United States. So this is the year he thinks the industry was officially born.
How was the MICE industry affected by the world wars?
Due to the influence of the world wars and their aftermath, there were very few congresses and conferences in the period from 1914 to the end of 1945, so the industry did not develop particularly well during this period.
From the 1950s, the industry experienced a boom, largely due to the accelerated growth of multinational companies and agencies, and the need for topical training for companies and their employees.
Post-war MICE industry
After World War II, tourism in general underwent an incredible transformation and became a mass phenomenon, largely due to the development of commercial aviation, which prompted investors to give the industry a major boost.
Since the 1960s there has been increasing investment in infrastructure to support conventions, conventions, meetings, and events around the world.
Some such infrastructures in Europe were the Sheffield Arena, the National Arena, and the Wales Millennium Center in the UK. On the other hand, the Convention Bureau of Belgium created the first Convention Bureau on the continent.
Infrastructure investments were also made in North America, Australia, and Africa (particularly South Africa). The Sava Centar in Belgrade, the largest congress and business center in the region, was built in 1977 and has a capacity of about 4,000 people.
These types of investments continue to be made today, as most of them are economically and socially significant and offer their countries the opportunity to position themselves on the map of top MICE destinations.
The most important associations of the MICE industry
Apart from the historical facts that mark the development of this tourism industry, the creation of professional associations in this field also contributes to its history.
Below are some of the most important associations in the MICE industry and the year they were founded:
1928 — International Association for Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)
1957 — Professional Association for Convention Management (PCMA)
1958 — International Association of Conference Centers (AIPC)
1963 — International Congress and Convention Society (ICCA)
1964 — European Association of Conference Cities (EFCT)
1968 — International Association of Professional Convention Organizers (IAPCO)
1969 — British Association of Conference Venues (BACD)
1972 — International Conference (MPI)
1975 — Meetings and Events Australia (MEA)
1981 — Association of British Professional Conference Organizers (ABPCO)
1990 — Association of the Meetings Industry (MIA)
With the growing number of events and conventions taking place throughout the year around the world, we hope this overview of the history of the MICE industry will help put its importance into perspective. If you have any questions or are looking for a MICE destination in Colombia for you or your company, please contact us, we will be happy to help you.