Indonesia’s MICE stakeholders urge elevation of business events sector in tourism policymaking


The Indonesian trade is calling for a stronger, more prominent position of business events within the new structure of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (MoTCE), or the TCE Board, in the new cabinet line-up.

President Joko Widodo has currently placed the tourism and creative economy sectors under one ministry – which will act as a policymaker – as well as formed a board to be the executive body in charge of both sectors.

Wishnutama: agrees with stakeholders that business events had the potential to bring in more international visitors, and with them, the tourism dollar

With this new nomenclature, adjustments to TCE’s structure are expected to take place, and the MICE industry is hopeful that the business events sector will be elevated to a higher position, having been placed under the fourth echelon previously.

To convey the message from stakeholders on the ground, the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHRA) recently held an audience with the new minister of tourism and creative economy, and head of TCE Board, Wishnutama Kusubandio; and deputy minister/vice head of TCE Board Angelina Tanoesoedibjo.

IHRA chairman Haryadi Sukamdani shared with TTGmice that he suggested the government relook the organisational structure within the Ministry of Tourism, and split it into two market segments of business and leisure.

“There needs to be (separate) units at the deputy level (first echelon) to oversee (the two tourism sub-sectors). The two need to be managed separately as each has its own characteristics and therefore, require different strategic approaches,” Haryadi said.

“If each government agency could create an international business event related to its field as part of its annual calendar of events, the country’s branding and promotions would be improved and international arrivals would grow,” Haryadi opined.

He added that Indonesia has quality business events and accommodation facilities, but they have not been utilised optimally in the past five years.

Christina Rudatin, vice chairman of the Indonesia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (INACEB), said: “It is time for the tourism (authorities) to focus not only in (gaining tourist) numbers, but also on quality travellers. (Currently), all tourism development strategies and programmes are targeted at leisure travel.”

A strategy change to attract quality visitors, especially those from the business events sector, is required, urged Christina. To obtain such travellers, the business event segment must get more attention from the authorities, and develop its own set of programmes and targeted strategies.

“These (business travellers) are generally opinion leaders, whose word of mouth is stronger when it comes to influencing others to visit a destination,” she added. Moreover, business travellers spend three to four times that of a leisure traveller.

At a recent media conference in Jakarta, minister Wishnutama agreed with stakeholders that the business events industry had the potential to bring in thousands of people.

Wishnutama added that he has also been in consultation with international event organisers, and are “determining what needs to be done, and what needs to be changed” within the ministry and TCE Board.

Christina, in the meantime, is hopeful that Wishnutama understands the need to develop the MICE sector as he has had a background in media, and has experience managing large-scale events such as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.

The new ministry structure is expected to be formed by next month.

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