Denpasar, Bali, October 26, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / The island’s once-thriving MICE sector will play a significant role, more so than the leisure sector, in the government’s tourism recovery plan. Critical for Bali’s MICE associations to “prioritise togetherness, not competition,” in order to win, says province deputy governor.
As provincial and central governments focus on restoring Bali’s economy — the hardest-hit in Indonesia due to Covid-19 — harnessing the MICE sector’s potential to contribute to recovery has emerged as a priority.
Bali’s MICE sector has received increasing government recognition in recent years as a major contributor to the island’s gross regional product, of which 58% is drawn from tourism, according to its Central Statistics Agency.
To signal the government’s commitment to supporting the sector, in mid-October Bali’s deputy governor, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati, known as Cok Ace, ratified the formation of the Bali MICE Forum.
Members include the Bali Tourism Board, the central bank’s Bali office, and local representatives of four national MICE associations: the Indonesia Congress and Convention Association (INCCA), Indonesian Exhibition Companies Association (IECA), the Indonesia Event Industry Council (IVENDO), and the Society of Indonesian Professional Convention Organizers (SIPCO).
“We can’t just stand by,” said Cok Ace at the signing event. “For this reason, it is very important for Bali’s MICE associations to unite to rise up and win the competition. By prioritising togetherness, not competition, we must unite to rise up.”
The head of Bank Indonesia’s Bali office, Trisno Nugroho, added that “the potential of MICE in Bali is extremely large. We must collaborate for the awakening of MICE and the progress of Bali”.
According to Bali Hotels Association’s (BHA) government relations director, Fransiska Handoko, the hotels that rely more on MICE to generate revenue are among the worst affected by the global halt in travel.
“We need a strong back up from the government to make Bali a leading MICE destination in 2021. We are all waiting for what they are planning to do and how they will support the industry with clear and measurable results,” said Handoko in response to the formation of the Bali MICE Forum.
Hotel Nikko Bali Benoa Beach, Nusa Dua believes the MICE sector is “the only hope” to reignite Bali’s economy. Pictured: Mandalika Ballroom.
Hotel Nikko Bali Benoa Beach is one of the island’s hotels catering for the MICE sector. Its director of sales and marketing, Tina Tandun, believes that the government should “prioritise all meetings in Bali as 2021 will still be a soft year for international MICE in Bali”.
Tandun explained that it is highly unlikely domestic companies will prioritise meetings outside their location next year, “so the only hope is for the government to support Bali’s economy through the MICE sector”.
An earlier setup during Bali’s rosier days, by event styling company Heliconia Group.
Michael Pritchard, the founder and director of event styling company Heliconia Group, which has offices in Bali, Bangkok and Phuket, said in terms of the sector’s recovery, “I can’t see anything bouncing back. MICE and all large events are booked years in advance. It can’t be immediate. One would hope that the government does all it can to support the sector.”
One major event that will bolster the sector is the recently announced United Nations Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, to be held in Bali in 2022. Up to 7,000 people from 193 countries are expected to attend, The Jakarta Post reported.