Bali stakeholders upbeat about the island’s MICE prospects

The Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction held earlier in May at Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center

Business events stakeholders in Bali are reporting that the number of corporate events returning to the destination has exceeded initial projections, following the easing of Indonesia’s Covid-19 rules and border restrictions.

Speaking at the media briefing of the recent Bali and Beyond Travel Fair, Oriol Montal, multi property vice president, Marriott International and general manager of The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali, said that initial projections of a long recovery were wrong.

The Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction held earlier in May at Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center

“A few months ago, when we started to see the opening of various markets around the world, we started projecting what we thought the future would be. We projected that MICE would take much longer to recover, and thought that we would not see events of 300 to 1,000 people arriving in Bali until 2023.

“We were totally wrong,” he declared, adding that the company’s Bali properties are seeing “a large number of event bookings” both from the Indonesian government, as well as from countries like the US and Singapore.

At the Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali and Bali International Convention Centre alone, events – government, corporate, insurance companies, and association meetings – slated from now until December 2022 range from 50 to 500 participants.

The fact that Bali will be hosting the G20 summit and a series of related events will help Bali recover even faster, Montal pointed out.

Similarly, Conrad Bali has also seen an influx of groups of around 10 to 150 people mainly from small- and medium-sized companies.

Kevin Girard, general manager of Conrad Bali, told TTGmice: “These are primarily domestic groups, but there are some from Singapore, as border restrictions on both sides have eased and travel is easier.“

He added that his initial projections were also wrong, so he has “refrained from making any more.”

“The good news is that we are seeing great booking levels. for the next two to three months, which is encouraging after such a tough period,” Girard added.

Lead times for these corporate events are much shorter now, Girard shared, and most of them are now held outdoors, adding that the “ocean, greenery and beautiful flowers that in Bali are a real draw”, and will be a “refreshing and renewing” experience for most travellers.

Riyanthi Handayani, president director of the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC), has also reported receiving bookings for corporate meetings and association events, on top of bookings for ministerial meetings.

“We have served a number of international events hosted by the Indonesian government here at BNDCC, and these have boosted business to our (venues) and Bali’s recovery greatly.”

In March, BNDCC hosted the COP-4 Minamata Convention that saw a turnout of 800 delegates from 139 countries, and Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction – organised by the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation National Body and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction – in May, which was attended by 2,300 participants from 185 countries.

Recently, Panorama Group brought a 1,050-pax incentive group from an insurance company to Bali, where the group stayed for two nights and held an awards night at BNDCC.

Looking at current performance and forward bookings, Riyanthi remains confident that the situation will improve.

Montal too, is positive about Bali’s future as a business events destination, but one challenge he indicated is reestablishing air routes to ensure there are enough seats to bring in more corporate groups.

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