THE Indian MICE market, particularly the corporate incentive segment, is looking bright for Indonesia, according to Visit Indonesia Tourism Officer (VITO) India.
“We have seen a growing interest from corporate incentives to Indonesia, particularly Bali,” said Sanjay Sondhi, country director of VITO India.
India is one of the few markets posting a strong increase in arrivals to Indonesia. Arrivals from India between January and July totalled 153,521, rising 10.4 per cent from 139,119 during the same period in 2014, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.
With full-year arrivals from India surpassing the initial arrival target of 210,000 to reach 238,000 in 2014, Sondhy is optimistic the target of 250,000 arrivals would be achieved this year.
Suppliers in Bali are also confident of netting more MICE business from India.
Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel Bali recorded a 10 per cent growth in the Indian market last year, with MICE comprising 30 per cent of the Indian market.
Alice Matulessy, director of sales and marketing, said: “Most Indian groups staying with us are incentives, with at least one private dinner in-house.”
Saraswati Subadia, director of sales MICE at The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali, said: “We have had big Indian weddings before but MICE from this market is new. This year, we have seen many inquiries coming in for MICE.”
Last year, Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC) handled two incentive groups from India which included meetings and gala dinners at the facility.
Yasinta Hartawan, general manager, operations of BNDCC, said: “They did not require anything specific or themed dinners other than requesting for authentic Indian food prepared by Indian chefs.”
The inbound MICE market from India could welcome more diversification though, observed Umberto Cadamuro, COO of Pacto. “Incentives from India are plenty but there is hardly any meeting. (Indian MICE groups) are more leisure oriented.”
Nevertheless, Umberto sees strong potential in the Indian MICE market although he stresses the importance of improving the awareness of the destination, especially among the frontliners.
“Let’s take a big incentive request from India to Bali for example. DMC bosses may know the products (in the destination) well because they have been coming, but the ones handling it is the staff and they may not know that Bali has many quality upmarket hotels with affordable prices to offer their clients,” he said.
To address this issue, Pacto recently led a group of hoteliers and suppliers from Bali on a sales mission to Mumbai and Delhi, conducting a table-top meeting for Outbound Tour Operators Association of India members to enhance their product knowledge of Bali.
Read more reports from the ground in our IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific 2015 Show Dailies.