Improved air links between China and Bali has strengthened the Chinese MICE market for the Island of the Gods, writes Mimi Hudoyo
Indonesia’s MICE business from China has been dominated by clan meetings, retail and B2B exhibitions, most of which take place in Jakarta. In recent years, however, Bali’s appeal to the Chinese MICE market has soared on the wings of improved air access between China and the destination.
According to Herman, Jetwings’ senior operations manager, Bali is now connected to China by various airlines including Hong Kong Express, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, as well as Singapore Airlines via Singapore and Asiana Airlines via Seoul.
More air services by Chinese carriers will soon come online to put Bali within reach for even more Chinese travellers, said Bambang Sugiono, director of Gajah Bali Tour.
Data from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy showed that Chinese arrivals in Bali from January to April this year was 191,413, compared to 128,125 during the same period last year. Indonesia, in general, welcomed 324.334 Chinese travellers in the first four months of this year, an increase of 30.4 per cent over the same period in 2013.
Commenting on the rising number of Chinese footfalls in Bali, Bambang said: “There has been a steady growth in Chinese arrivals over the last couple of years. Today, China has become the second biggest market for the island. While most of the traffic is still group and leisure FIT, we have started to see growth in the corporate meeting and incentive segments.”
Come September, Gajah Bali Tour will receive a 400-pax incentive group from a Chinese pharmaceutical company.
Bambang observed that the travel requirements of Chinese incentive groups are similar to leisure travellers – both would stay in Bali for five days/four nights and tour popular landmarks and destinations such as Tanah Lot, Ubud and Pulau Penyu (Turtle Island).
“The only difference is that the incentive package is full-board, including two day tours and one free day,” he added.
The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali has also reported busy days with the Chinese market. It welcomed two corporate incentive groups from China last April. One was from an insurance company with 156 delegates who arrived in two batches, and the other was from a consultancy firm with 84 people, revealed Saraswati Subadia, the resort’s director of sales MICE.
Other sellers in Bali are eager to get in on the action.
Bali Adventure Tours, which operates Ubud Adventure and Function Centre, and Elephant Safari Park & Lodge, exhibited at IT&CM China this year to tap the market. The company’s director of sales and marketing, Arifin Tirta Wijata, said: “Most of our Chinese business comes from the leisure segment, but we see a potential to grow the incentive market. Our participation in (IT&CM China) gave us a few pieces of business, so we have now placed IT&CM China on our yearly agenda.”
To attract the Chinese MICE market, Bali Adventure Tour has rolled out two packages, one a day tour and the other a two-night arrangement.
The day package, good for up to 30 people per group, includes white-water rafting with teambuilding elements, activities and shows at Elephant Safari Park & Lodge, lunch, refreshments and hotel transfers. The two-day option features the same activities and includes accommodation at the lodge plus a mountain cycling tour. It is suitable for groups of up to 20 people.
Bali Hai Cruises, which operates day and evening cruises around Bali and Nusa Lembongan Island, as well as a beach club on Nusa Lembongan Island, is also keen to attract more Chinese incentive groups with its area of specialisation. It currently handles the Chinese leisure segment.
New spaces at Padma Resort
Padma Resort Bali at Legian is revitalising its banquet and meeting facilities with a US$5 million renovation project which will give it a larger ballroom and four new breakout rooms.
Slated to open this month, the refreshed grand ballroom, Plumeria, will have capacity for 700 guests, theatre-style. It can be divided into three smaller spaces, and comes with a pre-function room.
Need to know
New stay at Seminyak
Courtyard by Marriott Bali Seminyak will open this month in the entertainment enclave, offering 290 rooms and suites, 308m² of event facilities including a poolside pre-function area, all-day-dining Seminyak Kitchen, Pool Bar & Lounge, a fitness centre and swimming pool.
Free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the hotel.
Table for more than eight
TABLE8 is the latest dining destination at luxury hotel, The Mulia Bali. The oriental restaurant specialises in authentic Cantonese and Sichuan delicacies, and even offers a tea corner where guests can enjoy imported varieties of premium leaves from China.
Menu highlights at the exquisitely designed restaurant include Australian five-head whole abalone braised with wild mushroom, and roasted suckling pig. Diners can also choose to have dim sum or pick off a buffet spread.
TABLE8 opens for lunch and dinner, and can seat 100 guests.
For private functions, the restaurant offers a private dining room for 48 guests.
DoubleTree by Hilton arrives in Indonesia
DoubleTree by Hilton Jakarta – Diponegoro opened its doors to guests in June, the latest property in Hilton Worldwide’s Indonesian portfolio and the first DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in the country.
It offers 253 rooms and suites, a ballroom for 700 pax in a theatre setting, six breakout rooms for 50 to 120 people, a 24-hour business centre, three dining outlets, and various recreational facilities including an outdoor pool.
It is located near the city’s CBD.
Zip around Bali in a vintage limousine
VW Limo Bali has reconstructed a vintage 1980 Brazilian Volkswagen Kombi to make it a fun transportation option for tours around Bali.
Good for small groups of five people, the iconic vehicle features an L-shape living room equipped with air-conditioning, a minibar, an eight-speaker sound system with hundreds of music albums to make the journey a fun party, and Wi-Fi Internet.
The Kombi is available for day or night charters at US$150 for eight hours, and includes a driver and concierge staff who will assist clients in creating itineraries and booking restaurants and bars.
VW Limo Bali will add four more Kombis to its fleet by early next year.
Email owner Brett Morgan at email@example.com for more information.
A day in Bali’s countryside
Drive to Jatiluwih in Tabanan Regency, where the rice terraces have been named a UNESCO Cultural Landscape. Learn about the Subak irrigation system and the rice plantation method, and then partake in hands-on activities such as traditional field ploughing, paddy planting or harvesting, depending on the season.
Journey on to Bedugul for lunch at a local restaurant that serves Indonesian and international cuisine, then onwards to Candikuning to visit a traditional market where fruits, spices and local snacks can be purchased.
Spend the afternoon at three Balinese landmarks – the Pura Ulun Danu, a water temple located at the edge of Lake Bratan, Pura Taman Ayun in Mengwi and Tanah Lot.
Itinerary provided by Floressa Wisata Bali