Indonesia’s MICE attractions have something for everyone.
eetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) enticements pick up where leisure tourism leaves off, playing a pivotal role in generating interest in visits to Indonesia. More foreign tourist arrivals have been recorded within the first five months of this year than in the same period last year, the government said in July.
There is also increasing recognition of the potential of destinations beyond proverbial Bali and Jakarta in hosting MICE gathering. The quick-escape haven of choice for city-weary Jakartans, Bandung is no stranger to major events, having hosted the first Asian-African Conference in 1955 between newly independent Asian and African states. Just a 2.5-hour drive from Jakarta, Bandung’s cooler climate, less traffic-clogged, hilly streets and bountiful hawker food options are its prime pull factors. On the MICE front, the Trans Hotel, adjacent to the Trans Studio theme park owned by the eponymous TV network, can host large-scale shindigs, boasting the largest meeting, conference and exhibition venue in Bandung, with a capacity of up to 6,000 people in an area of 2,350 sqm. An irrefutable yardstick for Yogyakarta’s growing appeal as an MICE destination is the erection of the 14-hectare Jogja Expo Center.
Indonesia has it all in hosting international-caliber events, and give participants plenty of options to enjoy their free time.
Furthermore, MICE events in Yogyakarta increased by 10 percent in 2012, with 8,693 total events reportedly attended by more than 520,000 people.
Even for those visiting Yogyakarta strictly for non-hedonistic purposes, its proximity to the Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is justification for squeezing time for pleasure into a business trip. Yogyakarta is still a major cultural seat for gamelan, classical and contemporary Javanese dance, wayang kulit (shadow puppets) and theatre. To immerse in local culture doesn’t require crosscountry gallivanting: the Keraton Palace of Yogyakarta, located in the city center, is a prototype of Javanese architecture and cultural paraphernalia, while Jalan Malioboro’s night market offers samplings of the local cuisine and non-mass-produced batik, silver and leather handicrafts. Yogyakarta’s international hotel chains are concentrated around Jalan Malioboro, making it the city’s most tourist-thronged area.
Superblocks, known to moonlight as retail, residential and recreational spaces, can be further parlayed for MICE events, such as the Grand City Mall & Convex, Surabaya, which features a 3,320 sqm convention hall and even larger 4,100 sqm exhibition hall. The Gramedia Expo, as one of the first buildings in Surabaya to be certified “environmentally-friendly”, is architected to conserve energy, with transparent walls that admit the inflow of natural light. Hotel ballrooms such as at Shangri-La Surabaya, JW Marriott Surabaya and Sheraton Surabaya Hotel & Towers remain ideal venues for MICE events; but with the construction of new expo centers such as the Jatim Expo, there are manifold options. Considering that some 80 percent of visitors to Surabaya are on business, an estimated 50 percent of which are MICE visitors, according to the Surabaya Tourism Promotion Board, Indonesia’s second-largest city would do well to leverage its potential as an MICE destination. For quick leisure stopovers, Kampung Arab and the omnipresent Chinatown are great, everything-under-one-roof venues for sampling local fare, handicrafts, and the lively ambiance of a traditional market.
Government targets of raising foreign visitor numbers from last year’s 8.04 million to 9 million in 2013 still hinge heavily on star destinations Jakarta and Bali. On the environmental MICE front alone, Jakarta last July hosted the World Geothermal Energy Summit 2012, while the upcoming Indonesia LNG 2013 Conference will be held at Grand Hyatt Jakarta this October. The Jakarta Convention Center and Jakarta International Expo have played host to such weighty gatherings as the ASEAN Summit 2011 and will soon be set to host a fair share of the APEC Summit 2013 meetings, as well as Bali, Palembang, Medan and Surabaya.
With its inherent touristic pull, resort destination Bali is a go-to MICE destination. This year the island will see a further influx of arrivals for the upcoming Forbes Global CEO Conference 2013, Miss World 2013, World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference and, of course, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economy Leader’s Meeting. Fivestar lodgings in proximity to hotel-managed facilities such as the Bali International Convention Center at The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua and shuttle services to and from hotels and notable landmarks makes it easy to hold events spanning multiple days and locations. The Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center is one of various dedicated facilities capable of hosting up to 10,000 people over a total space of 25,000 square meters, where the World Trade Organization Conference will be held from Dec. 3-6, 2013.