Business events now a core focus in Indonesia’s tourism development plans

From left: Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association's Haryadi Sukamdani; minister of tourism Arief Yahya; minister of national development plan Bambang Brodjonegoro

Business events will occupy a more prominent position in Indonesia’s tourism development strategy over the next five years, as the national government is now placing a stronger emphasis on growing tourism revenue over arrival volume.

Speaking at the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association National Workshop in Jakarta earlier on Monday, Indonesian minister of national development plan Bambang Brodjonegoro said pushing the business events sector would be the most realistic way to achieve this target.

From left: Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association’s Haryadi Sukamdani; minister of tourism Arief Yahya; minister of national development plan Bambang Brodjonegoro

He said: “The government’s target for tourism for the next five years will no longer be pursuing an increase in the number of arrivals, but to make the sector more inclusive, yield a higher revenue and improve the economy for the people.”

Citing the example of the IMF-World Bank annual meeting held in Bali last year, Bambang revealed that the event attracted 34,761 arrivals from 189 countries despite taking place during Bali’s low season. The high-profile meeting benefitted not only hotels and venues, but other tourism-linked businesses on the island, such as local F&B outlets and their suppliers, and transportation providers.

“Moreover, business event travellers have proven to spend three times more than leisure travellers,” he said.

Bambang added that the development of business events will fall under the coordination of the Ministry of Tourism, as there is a “need to have a better strategy to bring more events to the country”.

“What is happening now is that business events are organised sporadically among the ministries, government agencies or the private sector. The IMF-World Bank event, for example, began with an initiative from the Ministry of Finance,” he revealed.

Moving forward, the Ministry of Tourism will take charge and coordinate national plans. Events will first be evaluated by the ministry, which will determine Indonesia’s interest in bidding as well as to lead the entire process, starting from the initial bid.

Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s minister of tourism acknowledged that currently different parties made bids for their own events. From now onwards, the ministry will be working together with associations to bid for events. In addition, his office this year has allotted Rp10 billion (US$714,285) for bidding purposes.

Bambang said his office would also be calling on other government offices to support the sector. He is also urging the private sector to develop more venues in different parts of the country.

“We need more venues with international standard to host more events. Therefore, the 10 New Bali destinations should include such venues in their development,” he posited.

Commenting on the plan, Budi Tirtawisata, chairman of the Indonesia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (INACEB), said: “INACEB as a private-sector organisation, will always support the government’s plan to boost business events sector. What we hope to see is for the Ministry of Tourism to have a deputy take charge of this sector.”

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