Myanmar and Indonesia are two underdeveloped but high potential MICE destinations in ASEAN. The governments in both countries have paid greater attention to developing MICE to unlock its vast economic benefits and put their countries on the world map. However, there is a long way to go for these countries especially with the lack of infrastructure necessary to host large events.
- Major MICE centres in Nay Pyi Taw include Myanmar International Convention Centres 1 and 2, and the Kempinski Hotel Nay Pyi Taw.
- The city had previously hosted the ASEAN Tourism Forum, ASEAN Summit and World Economic Forum on East Asia.
Myanmar is now holding more than 60 business and commodity exhibitions a year, but shortages of proper venues are hindering the full potential.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has announced plans to establish Nay Pyi Taw as a MICE destination, having established a central organising office in the capital city as a “one-stop shop” for organising MICE events.
TCEB and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) recently signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding at a ceremony in Yangon to improve and expand their meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industries.
MICE remains a disappointment for Indonesia. Out of 8.8 million travelers, only 3% came for MICE, roughly 170,000. Compared to its much smaller counterparts in ASEAN, this is proportionately small.
One of the main barriers to MICE growth in Indonesia is the lack of world-class infrastructure required for hosting prestigious or large MICE events. Only Jakarta, Bali and Yogyakarta are capable of hosting large meetings while other cities can only medium size events. In addition, connectivity and roads remain inadequate and air travel into Indonesia is limited. Newer developments include the construction of a new airport in Lombok and a new convention venue in Manado.
The government had previously designated 16 new MICE destinations for development. They include Bandung in West Java; Jakarta; Surabaya in East Java and Yogyakarta; Batam in the Riau Islands and Medan in North Sumatra; Denpasar in Bali and Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara; Makassar in South Sulawesi and Manado, North Sulawesi.
In 2012, Indonesia established the Directorate of Special Interest Tours, Convention, Incentive and Events Development to boost tourism and the MICE industry. In particular, Indonesia has focused its strategies toward attracting travelers from South Korea, India, Russia and China. In particular for China, Indonesia’s leading carrier PT Garuda Indonesia has made plans for daily flights to Jakarta while Jakarta has also urged ASEAN to implement a common visa for the region to accelerate growth of tourism from neighbouring countries.
Looking forward, there is a need for the government to create a special agency focusing on the development of MICE. In addition, there should be implementation of greater financial incentives to encourage MICE players to hold their events in Indonesia.
Myanmar and Indonesia have strong cultural and historical capital to tap on and their MICE industries are poised to become the largest in the region. Especially with collaboration with the ASEAN region, Myanmar and Indonesia are extremely attractive destinations for MICE travelers to stopover after their main events. However, it will take a few more years for Myanmar and Indonesia to really start fulfilling its potential because it still lacks the hard capacity required for hosting big events. Political circumstances can also frustrate development prospects and delay the growth of these promising MICE destinations.
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Read more about the other ASEAN countries’ MICE outlook: