Indonesia Seeks a Share of the Lucrative MICE Market

Indonesia Seeks a Share of the Lucrative MICE Market 
In 2007 a dedicated convention directorate was formed after the Indonesian parliament agreed to allocate a budget of Rp158 billion for international tourism marketing, of which Rp20 billion is earmarked to promote five priority destinations. The five priority regions are West Sumatra, North Sulawasi, South Sulawasi, West Nusatenggara and East Nusatenggara which support the promotion of Bali and Yogyakarta.

Indonesia faces strong competition in the MICE industry. There is Thailand with the facilities to host international events, Singapore is better equipped and more accessible, and Malaysia with government support is actively bidding for conventions.

What does Indonesia MICE have to offer? Diverse culture, rich destinations and now government support. With the setting up of the MICE Directorate in Jakarta, MICE players worldwide can look forward to a government that is pro-active in MICE and hopefully with the right attitude and vision will help Indonesia compete on the international MICE stage.

However, following the first announcement by Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik on the country’s plan to set-up a MICE directorate and since its inception last year, the directorate has yet to make an impact. The directorate is tasked to increase conventions and meetings in the country by 50%.

As the new director, Surya Dharma who was the former Chief of the Sub-Directorate of Tourism Investments commented that his immediate duty was to improve the present MICE potentials in the country before actively plunging into international promotion and marketing.

Foreign exchange earnings from international conventions and exhibitions in Indonesia are estimated to be five times higher than earnings from foreign tourist visits. Ordinary tourist spends about USD80 to USD100 a day however visitors attending an international convention can spend USD400 to USD500 a day.

Ten Indonesian Cities to Host International Meetings
Among 12 cities in Indonesia, the Association of Indonesian Conferences and Conventions (INCCA) indentified Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Bali, Surubaya, Padang, Manado, Batam, Medan and Baliktinggi as having the potential to host international conventions. This is after taking into consideration the cities’ infrastructure, accessibility and human resources that can meet and serve international conferences.

To host international meetings, these cities have to be backed by trained and skilled professionals that are capable of acting as public relations personnel, marketing officers, entrepreneurs, protocol officials and interpreters. To ensure that the cities meet these requirements, INCCA is collaborating with the Jakarta State Polytechnic in providing professional MICE training. The Polytechnic has now begun a five year programme offering a diploma in MICE.

According to Iqbal Allan, chairman of INCCA, the ten cities must also have airports capable of providing six to ten flights a day from Jakarta.

Bali Convention Capital of Indonesia 
Late last year, the Indonesian Congress and Convention Association (INCCA) welcomed another chapter to its fold. The newly formed Bali chapter which although long over due is expected to boost meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition activities on the island, as well as provide professional training.

According to INCCA Bali deputy head, Ketut Jaman, the infrastructure in Bali is good enough for MICE activities, but promotion has been rather poor. Jaman said the first priority of the association was to improve the skills of professionals involved in MICE such as event organisers, hotel managers, public relations agencies, translators and transportation. The Association will also push for the establishment of large exhibition and convention halls to meet international demands. Most the convention halls on the island have the capacity to hold 400 people and the island will require facilities that can host up to 5,000 people or more. Currently the island’s largest convention center is the Bali International Convention Center at the Westin Hotel, Nusa Dua which has a capacity of 2,000 people.

The setting up of the Bali chapter last year was timely as the island hosted the biggest convention in the world, that is the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in December 2007 with approximately 10,000 representatives from 180 countries participated. Conference participants were hosted in hotels in Sanur, Kuta and Nusa Dua. Bali is the second most preferred destination for MICE after Jakarta. MICE activities in the island have contributed to about 35 percent of total foreign tourist arrivals since 2003.

Bali International Convention Centre Asia’s Beachfront 
Convention Facility It is rare in Asia to find a convention centre in a resort setting. One such facility is the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) located in Nusa Dua surrounded by tropical gardens and exquisite white sandy beaches. BICC is Bali’s largest best equipped and most flexible conference and exhibition venue.

The centre consists of the 2,394 square metre Nusa Indah Hall which is one of the biggest among Asian resort destinations able to seat 2,500 theatre and 1,200 classroom styles. A plus point of the hall is its unusually high 10 metre ceiling which is good for all kinds of events. For outdoor exhibition, organisers can look forward to a space of 2,000 square metres and two interior exhibition areas of 1,350 square metres each.

Within distance are several deluxe hotels of which the centre is linked to the Westin Resort. The BICC is also close to 3,000 five-star hotel rooms that are 10 to 30 minutes by car or shuttle; and to another 25 top-rated hotels. The BICC is easily accessible to a total of 12,000 international standard rooms. Among its other features, the BICC offers a bonded warehouse for the safe storage of equipment and materials making it easy to facilitate freight forwarding and customs clearance.

BICC can boost of being the only South East Asian conference centre offering an exotic, yet safe and comfortable environment with a beachfront location accessible to several five-star hotels and resorts and numerous outdoor activities.