Bali’s Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace) is calling on the Bali Tourism Industry to be innovative in doing business in the “New Normal” of living in a COVID-19 Era.
Cok Ace, who also owns tourist hotels in Bali, is suggesting that hotels with gardens and surrounding lands consider offering meetings, conferences, incentives, and exhibitions (MICE) in open areas as opposed to enclosed spaces.
Many disease control experts advise that dining and meeting in open, outside areas reduce the risk of viral transmission.
Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Cok Ace said in an online tourism webinar: “In this way, Bali can stand out. What’s more, with the friendliness of the people of Bali, operators can host gatherings that are both safe, beautiful, and inspiring to MICE participants.”
Photo Courtesy – Ritz-Carlton Bali
The Deputy-Governor is convinced that MICE events held in the open air and accompanied by international standards of health protocols could position the Island of Bali at the very forefront of markets competing for conferences, conventions, and exhibitions.
In pursuit of the MICE sector, the beauty of Bali’s “great outdoors” would be complemented by several other factors, including a large inventory of hotel rooms and a robust supporting infrastructure.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Bali was a premiere MICE destination, having hosted many prestigious events, including APEC 2013 and the IMF-World Bank Annual Meeting.
Unfortunately, the global outbreak of COVID-19 has cost Bali the hosting of several large athletic events and major MICE events scheduled for Bali. Among the events canceled or postponed for Bali include Asia Pacific City Summit of Mayors, International Conference on Human Rights and Human Dignity, and the Summit on International Climate Change.
Continuing, Cok Ace said: “COVID-19 has given birth to a new culture – referred to as ‘The New Normal.’ In order that Bali can participate in ‘The New Normal,’ there are protocols that must be fulfilled on standards of hygiene, public health, and security.”
The Deputy-Governor is confident that Bali can meet international COVID-19 related protocols and thereby secure a large share of the MICE Market by hosting outdoor gatherings.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandi in the Webinar said he remains optimistic that the MICE sector in Bali will recover. Kusubandi said the MICE sector has a strong potential to uplift the Nation as a strategic part of the Country’s tourism economy. For this reason, he added, standard-operating-procedures (SOPs) that are carefully formulated must be urgently put in place.
Commenting on “The New Normal” for MICE, Wisnutama said detailed protocols are needed that are innovative in how they perform and are enforced in a disciplined and comprehensive manner. The Minister noted punishments and sanction must be in place supporting protocols intended to protect the public’s welfare. In this way, an atmosphere conducive for tourism can be created.
The Webinar was organized by the Bali Tourism Board (BTB/GIPI) and included participation by the head of the Bali Branch of Bank Indonesia, Trisno Nugroho; the chairman of BTB/GIPI, Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana; the head of the MICE Polytechnic in Jakarta, Christina L. Rudatin; the director of sales and marketing for the Westin Resort Nusa Dua and Bali International Convention Center, Saraswati Subadia; and the director of business development Simpleview, Christian Ortlepp.