The Secretary General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, told the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia that the appointment of a Director responsible for Conventions in the Directorate of Marketing could take place as soon as this month.
Sapta told Bisnis Indonesia, "if there are any delays, at the very latest the end of December will see an officer appointed to handle the convention business as all procedures (for that appointment) have been completed and approved."
The Chairman of the Indonesian Association for Congresses and Conventions (INCCA), Iqbal Allan Abdullah has long lobbied the Government to reinstate a specific director in charge of conventions, as was the case under previous governments. Somehow, he explained, the convention directors post disappeared in the shifts of tourism and culture from becoming a ministry to a department and then back to a ministry in recent years.
Iqbal explained how the MICE (meeting, incentive, conference & exhibition) sector was booming in former time, experiencing average yearly growth of 11%, a figure that dropped by nearly half in the years following the monetary and political upheavals dating from 1998.
Saying that whoever is eventually appointed to the top MICE job at the Culture and Tourism Ministry, he or she must have a demonstrated ability to cooperate with the travel industry in order to garner Indonesia's fair share of the billion dollar MICE market.
Explained Iqbal: "I recently joined the group of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to China where the President repeatedly called for the convention tourism sector to be intensified and declared that Indonesia was ready to act as the hotel of a number of international events."
In keeping with Government plans to expand the national destinations open to MICE events, Iqbal said there are 10 destinations in Indonesia that have been identified as having meting facilities capable of handling at least 200 participants and which enjoy international air access.
While conventions and conferences have been limited in the past to cities like Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, Medan, Makassar, and Yogyakarta, Iqbal announced that in 2007 five additional cities would be positioned to welcome this lucrative market comprised of Batam, Mataram, Manado, Padang and Pontianak.
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