Editors' Choice: Best resort destination in South East AsiaBy Staff Reporter
04 Jan 2017
As part of CEI Asia's inaugural Editors' Choice industry excellence report, here we celebrate the best resort destinations across the region:
In many ways, Bali is the destination that has it all. Celebrated for its immense beauty and deep-rooted Hindu/Animist culture, the little island near the geographical heart of the Indonesian archipelago continually attracts a steady stream of incentive groups from around the world.
It has been another busy year for the MICE sector. In 2016, Bali has hosted a number of major incentives. In September, more than 8,000 employees of the Chinese conglomerate Tiens Group gathered for a mega incentive trip celebrating the company’s 21st birthday. A series of meeting and leadership seminars took place at the Bali International Convention Centre before a peace-themed flag parade and a spectacular awards ceremony. In November, meanwhile, the island welcomed 2,000 Amway India delegates for their annual incentive.
Bali has been wowing holidaymakers for decades. But with better transport infrastructure in place allied to conferencing facilities and an array of new hotels coming online, the island is going from strength to strength when it comes to attracting bigger incentive groups from near and far.
Notable hotel openings in 2016 included the achingly fashionable Katamama Hotel located next door to the hugely popular Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak and, nearby, the adults-only Hotel Indigo Bali, with 270 rooms and 19 villas with a ballroom and boardroom for meetings and events.
“There are few destinations that can cater quite so capably for such a wide range of demographics,” agrees Jason Lim, chief operating officer in Bali for Smailing Tour DMC, a leading destination management company.
“Those who like nightlife, beaches and shopping can opt for Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Nusa Dua is quieter and more laid back and is home to great hotels and the major convention facilities. Ubud is a cultural destination with some fantastic resorts while the rest of the island offers everything from river rafting to hiking. Quite simply, there’s something for every type of group.”
Bali’s infrastructure has improved significantly in recent years with major achievements including the wholesale refurbishment of the international airport and the construction of the Bali Mandara toll road, linking Kuta with Nusa Dua and cutting journey times dramatically.
“Visitors have always appreciated Bali’s culture and its friendly, hospitable people,” adds Lim. “Now, with infrastructure having improved so much, larger groups can also get a taste for what makes it special.”
Although it luxuriates in its serene Andaman Sea location, it has been a busy period for the MICE sector on Langkawi. The archipelago in the far northwestern corner of Malaysia, favoured by planners for its sumptuous resorts and powder-white beaches, has added several new strings to its bow.
The St. Regis Langkawi (above) opened in April this year with 89 luxury suites and five meeting rooms. It is due to be joined in July 2017 by a new Ritz-Carlton. The destination is also set to benefit from better accessibility with direct flights from Hong Kong and Chennai in southern India due to launch over the next year or so.