Bali catching up with Singapore on MICE

Bali continues to develop into a top destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) in Southeast Asia, working to surpass neighboring Singapore’s position. Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said that the number of foreign travelers visiting the island for purposes other than leisure, such as for business meetings, was increasing. Thus, Mari said, the government continued to push all provinces to develop their MICE industry, especially Bali, which was improving significantly after hosting various international events.

“This is a special tourism product, which tries to entice quantity, as well as quality, tourists,” Mari said. “I am optimistic that Indonesia, supported by Bali, can compete with developed MICE destinations like Singapore.” She said the country’s foreign visitor targets had always been helped by MICE events. The ministry’s director for tourism site development, Firmansyah Rahim, has said that the government realized the potential from MICE to develop the tourism sector, including boosting tourist visits. MICE events are believed to be resistant to financial crises.

The need to develop MICE products backed the establishment in 2007 of a special directorate designated to handle that particular sector. Firmansyah said Singapore, as a main business hub for Southeast Asia, had realized the potential and developed the industry long before Indonesia. Singapore was also a transit spot for millions of tourists, as many travelers heading to Bali had to transit there first due to the unavailability of direct flights. The infrastructure in the city county was also very supportive of MICE. “We started developing this in 2007.

Thereafter, hotels started to equip themselves with meeting halls of various capacities,” he said. “Shopping centers also improved their designs,” he added. According to Firmansyah, Indonesia’s natural and cultural richness were attractions to entice tourists to hold MICE events in the country, as records showed that most of the events ended with field trips. For incentive events, for example, Firmansyah said business owners would offer something unique compared to what regular tourists would prefer. “Beautiful nature and culture are a complement that Singapore doesn’t have,” he said.

“Nevertheless, we have to remain aware and keep improving our resources, so that we can win bids to host international events,” he said. A survey by the Bali Tourism Agency in 2013 showed that 33.3 percent of Bali’s MICE participants said that Singapore was still leading for MICE in Southeast Asia. Thailand was chosen by 28.6 percent of respondents for second place, while Bali took third place with 23.8 percent. Malaysia and Cambodia scored 9.5 percent and 4.8 percent respectively. “Bali is just a part of Indonesia, but it came in third,” he said.

“This shows that we have what it takes to develop further.” Firmansyah said all stakeholders must work seriously on this and maintain synergy with other areas in the country. “If we can complement each other, Indonesia can become a top MICE destination for the region,” he said.

source : bali daily

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