A star is born

South Tangerang may unseat Jakarta as the country’s top business events destination in just a few years

Indonesia Convention Exhibition

South Tangerang (Tangerang Selatan), which lies on the south-western border of Jakarta, is gearing up to become a major player on the global business events destination stage, as more events and new developments arrive in the city.

In 2015, Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE), the largest convention and exhibition centre in the country, opened with 220,000m2 of events space in South Tangerang’s Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) area.

An aerial view of Indonesia Convention Exhibition

Since then, the number of events in Banten province – which includes South Tangerang – has been on the rise.

According to the Indonesian Exhibition Companies Association (IECA), only 15 events were held in Banten province in 2016. That number doubled to 33 events in 2017, and rose further to 58 events in 2018.

“Of the 58 events, 80 per cent were held in South Tangerang. This shows that Banten’s MICE activities are centred in South Tangerang,” Deden Sunandar, IECA’s Banten chapter chairman said. “Events have not only increased in quantity, but also in quality.

“Before ICE opened, most events in Banten were only on a local scale. Now more than 50 per cent of events are international,” he added.

Irvan Mahidin, vice chairman of Indonesia Event Industry Council (IVENDO), said organisers are starting to consider South Tangerang because it is closer to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Exhibitors can easily transport goods from the airport or seaport to the exhibition hall.

“The local government is very cooperative in helping organisers – from immigration, customs to taxation. Organisers are truly spoilt in South Tangerang,” Mahidin noted.

However, conveniences such as these have not yet attracted Chinese organisers to South Tangerang. One of the main reasons, said Mahidin, is because most people only think about the capital city of Jakarta. As the largest metropolitan city in Indonesia, Jakarta is still more attractive than South Tangerang.

That is why ICE is very focused on promotions and has been proactively participating in tradeshows and conducting roadshows, Ryan Adrian, president director of Indonesia International Expo (which owns ICE), said.

Adrian added: “Over the past three years, ICE’s business has grown 30 per cent. However, the number of international events held at ICE remains relatively low. We want to increase international events, and one way to do that is to attract the Chinese market.”

The largest Chinese event held at ICE thus far, in October 2017, was the 19th TeoChew International Federation Convention with 5,000 participants.

“Several exhibitions from China have been held in South Tangerang. The scale is still small, but every year it always gets bigger,” Adrian shared.

For 2019, Mahidin has targeted the Chinese market, and aims to grow it by 40 per cent.

“There are still many sectors that have not been worked on, and we have not yet explored many Chinese regions. Currently, most events come from Hong Kong, Beijing, and Guangzhou,” Mahidin said.

The potential for growth in South Tangerang has inspired Alcor Prime – which oversees The Kasablanka Hall, Upperroom, and Bekasi Convention Center – to open a multipurpose venue in Alam Sutera, Banten province. This new 10,000m2 venue, expected to open in December 2019, will feature a 6,000m2 grand ballroom and another 1,000m2 ballroom that can be divided into six breakout rooms.

Jim Tehusijarana, director of Alcor MICE, noted that the demand for event space by corporates in the area were relatively high. As such, Alcor MICE were “targeting corporate and community events”.

Tehusijarana added: “At Tangerang, companies need space to exhibit their products on a small scale. At ICE, the space is too big for them. We want to bridge that gap by providing medium-scale spaces that are also flexible for large events.”

With continued infrastructure growth and strong commitment from the local government, the future of South Tangerang’s business events industry is bright. And if this growth continues over the next five years, industry players say the city could well rival Jakarta as the centre for business events in Indonesia.

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