The hospitality industry in Bali is optimistic of more MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) business from Australia following the recent success of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
More than 10,000 participants from nearly 190 counties attended the two-week conference in December to discuss rising global temperatures, creating the largest conference ever held in Indonesia.
While media attention was riveted on the deliberations of the conference, the tourism and hospitality industry was delighted with the positive messages sent out by the outstanding planning and trouble-free implementation of the massive catering, meetings and security agendas.
"We were especially delighted to see that the Prime Minister of Australia made this conference his first official overseas assignment," said Garuda Indonesia's General Manager of Australia and the South-West Pacific Poerwoko Soeparyono.
"After many headlines about travel warnings over the years, there was the Australian Prime Minister and his team working in safety and harmony in Bali with leaders from around the world."
"The global acclaim that greeted the running of this conference is a wonderful lead-in to the Visit Indonesia Year 2008 (VIY08) and is expected to give a further boost to Australian visitor numbers," Soeparyono said.
Bali Hotels Association (BHA) Chairman Michael Burchett said the UNFCCC has given Bali enormous positive coverage worldwide, which will enhance the growing interest in Bali as a primary choice for the MICE industry.
"The challenges posed by past events have been overcome through the combined efforts of the Government, Tourism Industry at large, and everyone who believed in Bali. Happily, late 2006 saw the return of MICE to Bali from many traditional markets, with the noted exception of Australia, and growth in 2007 has been significant. Hopefully the Australian MICE market can renew their belief and confidence in Bali and return," said Burchett, who is General Manager of the Conrad Bali Resort and Spa.
Bali tourism identity and publisher Jack Daniels (Bali Update, Bali Discovery Tours and the annual Bali MICE Guide) says there's no doubt that the UNFCCC was a watershed, showing the world that Bali can successfully host a conference of vital importance to the world community.
"To be truthful, the size of the UNFCCC somewhat exceeded the carrying capacity of Bali's MICE infrastructure, so over-dominating the landscape that tour operators, attractions, and local shops beyond the Nusa Dua area went relatively quiet during the period of the conference itself. Mind you, we're not complaining."
"What's refreshing is that Bali itself and the rest of the world will now think of the Climate Change Conference whenever the name "Bali" is mentioned. Bali's been laboring much too long under the unjustified yoke of terrorism 'branding;' whereas the conference will go a long way in explaining that our island is as safe as anywhere else in this post-modernist world."
"Most encouraging, the MICE industry is playing an increasingly larger role in Bali's tourism future. Just week's before the start of the UNFCCC the Grand Hyatt opened a massive Ballroom capable of hosting, in addition to the Bali International Convention Center, large scale conferences and meetings in Bali."
"The overall design of the newly opened 40 hectare Bali Safari & Marine Park is also taking into account the needs and possibilities of the MICE market. The final design there will include a 1,500 person state-of-the-art performance center, underwater conference rooms surrounded by marine life, and almost limitless theme party options."
The Director of Sales & Marketing InterContinental Bali Resort, Suzette Deveau, said the UNFCCC event has definitely put Bali back in the spotlight and there has been an extremely positive response from international MICE planners since early 2007.
"I think that there has always been an awareness of Bali's potential and the Australian MICE market is just a little slow to rebound. The Australian leisure travellers are now returning, so demand is back.
"In fact we now have some potential leads from Australia for events to be scheduled during 2008. We will also be attending the AIME show in February in Melbourne."
"In addition, hosting Australia's new Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, at the Heads of State Meeting (at the UNFCCC) was a great opportunity for the Resort. It was an encouraging sign for MICE planners in Australia to trust our capabilities and security standards."
"We also had the pleasure to host several meetings, including events for the Ministry of Finance attended by representatives from 44 countries, Ministry of Trade with 30 participating countries and The Heads of State Meeting, which involved six countries. This was an opportunity to emphasize the quality of our meeting facilities and level of security."
Garuda Indonesia's Poerwoko said overall traffic to Bali has risen by more than 50 per cent over the past year, demonstrating a rising confidence in Australia towards Bali and a realisation of the superb quality and value of its offerings.
Shown on Balidiscovery.com is the General Manager of the InterContinental Bali Resort, Kamal Chaoui, welcoming Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.
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