Qantas’ plan to start daily Melbourne-Denpasar route from June 23, 2018, has been lauded by stakeholders in Bali who see it as a bridge to attract business events back to the Indonesian island.
Over the last five years, Australian visitor numbers to Bali have doubled, prompting Qantas to begin daily flights between Sydney and Bali in March 2017, increasing the frequency from four to seven flights per week. In February this year, Qantas unveiled plans to launch the daily service between Melbourne and Bali.
Eddy Putra, general manager of Tour East Indonesia opined that the new Melbourne-Bali service would not only boost leisure arrivals, but also increase business travellers.
“The lack of full service airlines that fly from Australia to Bali makes large companies reluctant to conduct incentive and meetings in Bali,” Eddy lamented.
Moreover, he added that low cost carriers – which have a leading 43 per cent share on routes between Australia and Indonesia – did not offer corporate travel rates for groups. Besides, most companies in Australia tend to fly top level staff on a full-service flight.
“This is why Australian MICE business in Bali is always small. (Bali only gets) a limited number of big groups,” Eddy said.
Eddy believes that with Qantas’ new route and additional seat capacity, business events in Bali could increase by 30 per cent this year.
Michael Koth, general manager InterContinental Bali Resort is also optimistic about the new connection.
He said that Qantas will “help to convince the market as Australian companies do not have to worry about flights”, and this may help to push Australia back to pole position in terms of leisure and corporate arrivals.
To obtain more business events, InterContinental Bali Resort will be conducting sales and media calls to Australia, jointly host events with other InterContinental properties, and work closely with the global sales team based there.
Meanwhile, DMC Destination Asia will be conducting sales calls to many Australian cities and meet with event planners to attract business events back to Bali.
Ketut Sediya Yasa, managing director of Destination Asia Indonesia explained that this year’s poor performance was partly due to many Australian companies diverting incentive plans and meetings to other destinations due to Mount Agung eruption. And while the market might rebound in September, the industry was unable to capture the market and grow during the high season (January to April).
“We are now looking towards 2019. Apart doing sales calls, we are also working with ASITA (Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies) and the government to promote Bali as a MICE destination. Qantas’ new route is a fantastic opportunity (for Destination Asia) as Melbourne is a big contributor towards Bali arrivals. Surely it will accelerate the growth of MICE market,” Sediya concluded.