MICE visitors have high spending

Although foreign travelers coming to Bali for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) only accounted for 2.1 percent of the total number of foreign tourist visits, each of them spent big. A survey by Bali Tourism Agency in 2012 revealed that foreigners visiting the island for MICE events accounted for around 61,000 people, but each of them spent a lot and left with a good impression of the locations, agency head Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu said on Thursday.

Subhiksu said that the majority of tourists coming to the island still came for leisure. According to Subhiksu, MICE-event participants were mostly professionals and high-end employers and employees, visiting Bali for the first time. When asked about the visitors’ impression of Bali, he said they mostly stated their willingness to visit the resort island again in the future. More than 76.2 percent of the participants opted for star-rated hotels, while 19 percent chose to stay in villas and the rest in cottages.

On average, they stayed for 6.2 days. As for average spending, the agency recorded that these professionals and managers spent US$222 per person per day, higher than the average daily expenditure of all foreign tourists in 2012, which was $155.27 per person per day. The expenditure went to all sectors, including food, beverages and souvenirs. “These people come from a group of workers who spend freely. Besides coming with plenty to spend, some of their costs are covered by their institutions, sponsors, etc.,” he said.

“As for the time of stay, it depends on the necessity, but it is normally around four to nine days,” he added. In 2012, around 2.89 million foreign travelers visited the island, a 4.91-percent increase from the preceding year. Meanwhile from January to November 2013, the number of incoming foreigners had reached 2.98 million people, an increase of 13.55 percent from the same period last year. Subhiksu attributed the increase to several large-scale MICE events held in Bali, such as the Miss World pageant, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting.

According to Subhisku, success in hosting a MICE event had a positive impact on Indonesia’s, especially Bali’s, image as a favored tourism destination and it would have a good long-term impact on the industry. For this reason, the agency has set MICE programs as a tourism product in need of better attention and integration with regional administrations. The agency is therefore pushing for the development of infrastructure, sanitation, security and the preservation of nature and culture.

Improvements in human resources and the sites hosting MICE events are other focuses. The Bali Tourism Promotion Board (BPPD) has set MICE events as one of the five main programs to be promoted. To show serious attention to this particular sector, the board has initiated the establishment of the Bali Convention Bureau. BPPD chairman Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati said the island had everything required to host MICE events, especially with the expansion of the Ngurah Rai airport and the construction of the Bali Mandara toll road to ease traffic congestion.

Although the province still lacked human resource skills, he was optimistic that hosting MICE would continue to develop with assistance from the bureau. Firmansyah Rahim, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’s director general for site development, said that Bali was one of the 16 MICE destinations in Indonesia. Based on the 2012 country and city rank by an international meetings association, Indonesia ranks 41 among 109 countries surveyed. Meanwhile, Bali and Jakarta are number 41 and 182 from the 390 cities surveyed.

“We have yet to optimize our potential to develop MICE,” he said. “As one the main tourism destinations, we expect Bali to perform well in the global market, so it can boost other areas’ performances,” Ardana said.

source : bali daily

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