Surekha Ragavan
Oct 9, 2018

Bali rolls out red carpet for IMF-World Bank meeting

A cool 34,000 delegates have streamed into the island for the annual IMF meeting.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde (left) using coral fragments to help rehabilitate the threatened coral reefs, ahead of the start of the 2018 IMF-World Bank meeting. Photo: AFP
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde (left) using coral fragments to help rehabilitate the threatened coral reefs, ahead of the start of the 2018 IMF-World Bank meeting. Photo: AFP

The annual International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank meeting kicked off in Bali this week in the region of Nusa Dua. The event was expected to pull in 20,000 delegates but up to 34,000 have registered; they’re made up of central bank governors from member countries, finance ministers, business executives, civil society representatives, academics, and global media members.

“I am confident that Bali will benefit significantly from this important meeting knowing that 34,000 delegates will spend at least seven days on the island,” said Indra Sukirno, executive director and CEO for Jakarta Convention & Exhibition Bureau.

“It will contribute to the destination not only from a commercial value but it will also bring about more knowledge about Bali for those who have not been there. And it will generate an international reputation as a leading destination for business events in Asia.”

According to Sukirno, research shows that the average delegate spend at any event is US$2,500 across 3-5 days. However, with the IMF meeting bringing in high-level executives, she predicts that the spend-per-delegate would easily amount to five times the average spend at any other event. This brings her prediction to a total of US$51mil.

“This is not including the accompanying person’s programme, the post-tours, restaurants and shopping that add on to that,” she said.

Despite the high returns of an event of this scale, the ruling government has been questioned by the opposition for spending “lavish amounts” of money for the conference amid recovering from a tsunami in Indonesia’s Palu island that killed at least 2,000 people. The event is likely to cost the state about US$53 million.

The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, stood by the decision of holding the week-long conference and said that IMF staff would donate approximately US$130,000 to help with recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, Wini Yoniton, executive director for Indonesia Exhibition Companies Association (IECA), wishes for more international attention outside of Bali.

“In Indonesia, it’s not just Bali,” she said. “We have Medan, we have Surabaya, and we have Makassar. And we have more international flights going into these cities.”

Sukirno mirrored her sentiment: “With the upgrading of infrastructure, facilities and human resource development in all our business events destinations, we want to open doors to the international meetings market everywhere to open their eyes that Indonesia is more than just Bali and Jakarta."


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