Indonesia prescribes a revolution

Hungry for a faster pace of industry development, Indonesia’s younger business event players are initiating programmes to facilitate event creation and bring new business to suppliers. Mimi Hudoyo reports

Panoramic cityscape of Indonesia capital city Jakarta at night

An inconsistent level of urgency and importance placed on Indonesia’s business events industry – evident in the near-extinction of a MICE directorate within the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism under the current government led by president Joko Widodo – has frustrated stakeholders.

Panoramic cityscape of Indonesia capital city Jakarta at night

Adding to the woes of the private sector is a perceived inefficiency on the part of Indonesia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (INACEB), the country’s first business events industry champion formed in 2016.

Determined to improve the fate of Indonesia’s business events industry, the country’s younger generation of business event specialists have founded the Indonesia Professional Organisers Society (IPOS) with the objective of creating a proactive leadership that will unite all stakeholders, and leading a “MICE revolution”.

Harry Nugraha, founder of IPOS, told TTGmice: “The business events industry in Indonesia is running in the same spot. There is no coordination and integration (among the stakeholders). As such, it is difficult to project the future of our industry.
“We need a strong leadership and concerted efforts, as well as revolutionary programmes that will unite all stakeholders towards the ultimate goal.”

Kicking off its efforts, IPOS came up with an industry discussion forum called Indonesia MICE Revolution. Held part of the Indonesia Professional Organiser Summit in January this year, it brought together participants who sat down and traded new and constructive ideas on improving the industry.

Among the speakers was Haryadi Sukamdani, chairman of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA).

Haryadi said: “Gone are the days when we all could expect the government (to lead and finance our industry). We, the industry players, need to change our mindset…and come up with initiatives (on our own).”

He pointed out that the biggest source market for Indonesia’s business events industry has been the government sector, which has placed the industry in an “unhealthy” situation.

He explained: “Once the government cut its (event) budget, we lost our business. (Since then) we have only been waiting for business to come. We have not been going out to bring business in.”

Haryadi suggested that Indonesian players could begin with approaching clients in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and be more creative in developing fun new events that could be paired with the many festivals around the country, and sell them as exciting pre/post-conference add ons.

The new events could be seasonal and themed ones, such as sporting events.

To get the ball rolling, he has challenged professional event organisers to come up with ideas for the Visit Indonesia Year 2018.

“We’ll start with the January-March low season. We have 507,000 rooms across Indonesia (to fill) and (can) give (event planners) a 50 per cent discount (on room rate),” he said.

Ground reactions to this challenge are mixed.

Indra Sukirno, executive director of Jakarta Convention and Exhibition Bureau, expressed concerns over the short time frame and said 18 months of preparation would be need to put together a big event.

On the other hand, Grace Jeanne, owner of JP Pro Bali, believes that as companies have yet to establish their budget for 2018 at this point, it is still possible to create an event to kick off the new year.

IPOS’ other initiative is to develop a MICE colony, a regular gathering to discuss ways to accelerate industry development and share updates on what’s been achieved.

IPOS’s Harry said: “We are ready to become the partner of the government and of INACEB.”

IPOS also has intentions to organise Indonesia International MICE Forums in the country’s 16 business event destinations.
Sharing visions of this event, Harry said it would be a business forum for corporate buyers and organisers to meet with Indonesian suppliers.

“We have a database of such buyers and will bring only those that will book business in the destination. We have done this a couple of times in Jogjakarta and Semarang (among others) before and participating sellers get real business from the event.”
Harry is optimistic that industry players will shake off their dependence on the government if they could reap real business from such B2B forums.

Other programmes on IPOS’ agenda include sales missions to South-east Asian countries, development of a system to turn live business forums into an online travel exhange, and investment in human capital development.

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