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Dialogue: Alex Riva – The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua Interviews the Man Responsible for Promoting Bali's Westin Resort and Adjoining Bali International Convention Centre.

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(9/8/2004) recently paid a visit to Alex Riva, Executive Assistance Manager, The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali and Director of the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) to obtain his insights on the state of Bali's meeting and conference sector. An acknowledged professional in the marketing of travel, Riva is a Swiss national and a graduate of the Lausanne Hotel School with extensive experience working for hotels and travel companies throughout Asia.

Interview: Alex Riva How do your see the forward business for 2005 for the BICC and The Westin as compared to past years?

Riva: The Events business on the book is extremely encouraging. Based on the business currently on the book and also on the high number of new requests I expect 2005 to be a great year and probably the best ever for the resort. What are your main meeting and conference markets at present? Does this differ from years past?

Riva: Thanks to the refurbishment and re-branding, we have seen an increased level of business generated from regional corporate meetings which have restarted to consider Bali after the recent challenges. Most of our corporate clients have events with sizes ranging from 20 to 50 persons with several larger ones coming up during the next few months. Another market which has returns and we are seeing good feed-backs is the South African and European incentive segment.

In addition we have been chosen as the venue by numerous larger association events which will be also using neighboring Nusa Dua Hotels. Do lingering travel warnings play a role in conference and major decision makers in deciding whether or not to come to Bali?

Riva: Unfortunately, yes, and this is still an issue especially for events from Australia and USA, the only 2 markets which haven't returned to what we consider "normal" levels. What are some of the names of major groups/companies just served and on the books over the coming months?

Riva: The list of the International clients we have served this year include Bosch, Lexmark, Siemens, Mercedes-Benz, DaimlerChrysler, EMC, IBM, Dell, Nestle, Hewlett-Packard, Citibank, Ernst & Young, and McDonald's.

Over the coming 12 months we have already approximately 50 events confirmed however we are only able to mention some of the international association convention such as Rotary, World of Aquaculture, Inter Pacific Bar Association, and the International Astronomical Association. What has been Westin's and BICC's response to heightened security concerns from meeting planners?

Riva: This is a recurring issue for meeting planners today and our property has adapted to this new need of high level of security. Meeting planners are reassured to know that the resort has invested in a sophisticated CCTV system as well as other equipments and, if it helps for the participants to feel safer, we often work closely with the local police to provide an even higher level of security.

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