Jakarta – The meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry says is has sustained at least Rp 44.3 trillion (US$3.1 billion) in losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indonesian Exhibition Companies Association (Asperapi) chairman Hosea Andreas Runkat said during the 8th Indonesian Business Event Forum on Tuesday that the health crisis had greatly affected the industry, particularly for exhibitions.
"We tried to count the minimum losses in 2020 and it's around Rp 44.3 trillion," said Hosea, as quoted by antaranews.com.
He expressed his hopes that the government and MICE players could work together to recover the industry's performance.
As a result of global restrictions and physical distancing requirements, the MICE industry is among the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.
In Indonesia, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry called for the suspension of MICE events in March to contain the spread of COVID-19.
As the country has entered the so-called new normal phase, the ministry has encouraged MICE event organizers to work closely with local COVID-19 task forces in implementing health protocol during the pandemic.
The ministry has also undertaken several efforts for the MICE sector, which include promoting the cleanliness, health, safety and environmental sustainability (CHSE) protocols in nine destinations, namely Yogyakarta, Bandung, Medan, Surabaya, Manado, Lombok, Semarang, Batam and Banten, from Sept. 24 to Oct. 9.
The guidelines, which were created according to the Health Ministry's recommendations, are deemed important to curb the spread of the virus.
The promotion effort is aimed at providing MICE stakeholders with a similar understanding of the guidelines.
"There's a simulation for CHSE in a new normal era, which is important to prevent new COVID-19 clusters," said the ministry's deputy for tourism product and event organizers, Rizki Handayani, in a statement on Tuesday.
Rizki explained that the CHSE guidelines were in line with protocols made by the MICE association and expressed hope that the effort could make those planning MICE activities feel safer and more comfortable.
In July, Jakarta and Bali were preparing to welcome MICE events as part of the provinces' tourism rebound strategy.
Jakarta Tourism Agency head Cucu Ahmad Kurnia said the agency would issue a regulation allowing MICE events to be held at 50 percent of the usual capacity.
Meanwhile, authorities in Bali have announced plans to integrate MICE events with their tourism rebound plan, despite their vision to pivot to sustainable ecotourism.
"We seem to have forgotten to take care of nature in the past, causing an imbalance, and therefore, nature is testing us right now. We have to instill new mindsets to promote sustainability in tourism," Bali Tourism Agency head I Putu Astawa said during a webinar in July. (jes)