Kochi: In a couple of days, nearly 7000 doctors from across the country will converge in Kochi as the city is all set to host the PEDICON-2024, the prestigious annual conference organized by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics.
Another 3000 persons who are their family members and various medical companies’ representatives too will be arriving during the period.
Almost all hotel rooms in the district have been booked for the national meeting of paediatricians to be held at Hotel Grand Hyatt and Lulu Bolgatty Convention Centre from February 24 to 28. Around 3000 to 4000 hotel rooms are needed to accommodate all these doctors, for which a sum of over Rs 15 crore has to be spent. The bookings have spilled over from Kochi to neighbouring districts as well.
The spurt in conference tourism involving events like doctors’ national meets is set to create big waves in the trade, commerce, and tourism sectors of Kochi. Between 3000 to 4000 representatives are attending the all-India conferences of the Indian Psychiatric Society and All India Occupational Therapists Association which are currently on.
The organisers calculate that financial transactions amounting to Rs 100-150 crore will take place in connection with PEDICON. They alone will incur an expense of Rs 22-25 crore to hold the national event.
Airlines are getting Rs 14 crore by way of air tickets booked for experts from around the world participating in the event. The taxi cars in the city are almost fully booked. Through this, the private taxi operators too will be getting crores of rupees. GST revenue, worth crores, will also be flowing into the kitty of the State and Central Governments.
Small shops in the city, as well as auto drivers and shopping mall operators, among others, will benefit from the conduct of such events, said Dr Sachidananda Kamath, PEDICON-2024 organizing committee chairman.
Most of the delegates will visit tourist places, including Munnar, Fort Kochi, and Alappuzha. They will also visit places of worship. So, the gains made by the tourism sector will be enormous. The use of cars by delegates can lead to traffic snarls on certain occasions, which is the only disadvantage posed by such events, while the rest are gains.
However, the infrastructure facilities in Kochi and adjoining areas have to improve for the smooth conduct of such major events, according to the organisers. Big conference halls are needed to conduct huge meetings and exhibitions. Currently, huge temporary pandals are made to conduct several sessions and exhibitions. If huge halls that can accommodate vehicles and persons simultaneously are readied, Kochi and other cities in the State can pull off a coup in the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) sector.