Asia Pacific

EXCLUSIVE: Indonesia’s new tourism minister vows to prioritise business events

Wishnutama Kusubandio reveals plans to reinstate Indonesia’s MICE Directorate.

Indonesia’s newly appointed minister of tourism and creative economy, Wishnutama Kusubandio (pictured), met with leaders of the business events industry in Jakarta this week and revealed plans to reinstate the MICE Directorate — signalling a renewed focus on meetings and events as a key economic driver.

Among those who attended the meeting were members of IECA (Indonesia Exhibition Companies Association), INCCA (Indonesia Convention and Conference Association), and INACEB (Indonesia Convention and Exhibition Bureau), as well as representatives from the MICE certification board and academia.

Hosea Andreas Runkat, vice chairman of INACEB, told Biz Events Asia that the minister outlined strategies to support the industry, including plans to “re-activate the MICE Directorate by 1 January 2020; to increase participation in bids for international conferences and conventions; and to develop more special events in sports, culture and music to boost arrivals”.

The reinstated MICE Directorate, which was abolished five years ago, will be a dedicated agency under the purview of the ministry with direct and full authority over the meetings industry.

Runkat, like many industry players in Indonesia, is hopeful the revitalised MICE Directorate will accelerate meetings industry growth and encourage collaboration among stakeholders.

“The Minister wants to see industry players work together and streamline their efforts to promote Indonesia as a meetings destination,” he said.

“I’m feeling optimistic that 2020 will be a great year for MICE Indonesia. The support of the minister of tourism and his priorities for MICE will greatly boost Indonesia as a MICE destination.”

A new member of President Joko Widodo’s revamped cabinet lineup (revealed on 23 October), Kusubandio, 49, is seen as ‘a breath of fresh air’. As the co-founder of Indonesia’s television network, NET Media, he organised the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 Asian Games, and brings years of media and events experience to the portfolio.

Less than a month into his appointment, tourism and business event professionals are already familiar with his mantra: “quality over quantity”.

At the launch of the Indonesia Tourism Outlook 2020 in Bali last week, Kusubandio stressed his strategy of pursuing quality tourists.

As reported in detik travel, Kusubandio said: “Our strategies are to target high-spending tourists such as MICE… increase their length of stay and facilitate the process of attracting investors.”