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The Pied Piper of MICE

Plan to Establish a MICE Directorate Seen by Some as Too Little, Too Late and Reflective of Lack of a Structured Plan for Tourism.

(11/3/2006) As reported on balidiscovery.com, Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, [Minister Wacik to Establish a Directorate of MICE],recently announced his intention to establish MICE Directorate in order to promote and encourage inbound conference, convention and exhibition business Indonesia.

Following the announcement by the Minister, the Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesia Congress and Convention Association (INACCA), Ida Bagus Lolelc, said the Government’s plan to create a MICE Directorate was a good idea, although the timing was late. In comments made by Lolec to the Indonesian language Bali Post, Lolec suggested the proper timing for the new government department was following the first terrorist attack in 2002 in order to address the numerous travel warnings and advisories that have devastated Indonesia's international inbound MICE market.

Lolec hopes the soon-to-be-established MICE Directorate will establish a priority of tasks, giving emphasis to inter-departmental efforts with the National Police and the Minister of Political Affairs and Security (POLKAM) to coordinate an international lobbying effort to downgrade the current cautionary travel warnings and travel advisories.

Claiming that the Government has somehow assigned national tourism a secondary priority preventing serious discussion of tourism issues on a presidential cabinet level, Lolec urged that the proposed MICE Directorate must be in possession of a clearly defined short, medium and long-term vision and program for success.

The well-known MICE operator suggested the following action points should be included in the working plans of the new MICE Directorate :

Short Term Programs

• A coordinated lobbying effort to remove or reduce the current level of negative travel warnings and advisories.

• The assessment and inventorying of all MICE assets and supporting infrastructure in the 12 national destinations designated by the government as MICE destinations.

• The upgrading and training of human resources to create awareness of the potential and specific requirements of the MICE market segment.

• The effective marketing of Indonesia’s MICE products through accurate websites and well-maintained data bases.

Medium Term Programs

• Concrete funding supports for the MICE independent of the burdensome and time-consuming State Budget Process.

Long Term Programs

• Concrete programs that strive for sustainability in all Indonesian MICE and tourism destinations through the fostering of a sound national infrastructure, and the furthering of a peaceful and just society living in peace.

SIPCO Chairman's Comments

The Chairman of the Society of Indonesian Professional Conference Organizers (SIPCO), John Ketut Pantja, called on Minister Wacik to worry less about operational issues and, instead, focus on strategic areas connected with the MICE segment, such as preserving Garuda's international route structure and simplifying the process for obtaining a visa-on-arrival.

Pantja also called on the Government to ensure that MICE operators in Indonesia secure certification an maintain a Rp. 500 million (approximately US$ 53,200) bank guarantee.

Jro Gede Karang T. Suarshana

Meanwhile, the President Director of Suartur, Jro Gde Karang T. Suarshana, offered a dissenting opinion, telling the Bali Post that the establishment of a MICE Directorate at this time was an inefficient use of money at this point of time.

Insisting that sufficient expertise already exists within the current structure of the Department of Culture and Tourism to support MICE marketing. Suarshana suggested that the establishment of a new department at this time was a contra-productive use of limited resources.