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Drawing in crowds to Indonesia’s largest convention centre

The gleaming towers of glass with their rooftops that weave like oversized bonnets beckon as cars enter the manicured driveway. Perfectly landscaped surroundings line the gleaming new construction, providing it the ideal space in which to gather for a conference, an exhibit, a private function – or even a concert. This is the Indonesia Convention Exhibition located Bumi Serpong Damai. Referred to as ICE-BSD, the building, located just outside Jakarta is the biggest convention and exhibition centre in Indonesia.

Purpose built and inaugurated in late 2015, the building is constructed over an area of approximately 220,000 square metres, offering 10 exhibition halls, multi use convention spaces and 33 meeting rooms that are ideal for exhibitions, trade and consumer shows, concerts, seminars and so much more. With Indonesia at the cusp of large scale development in recent years, the opening of the hall is timely as the country expands its global outreach and attracts more foreign investment.

At the helm of this giant operation is Ryan Adrian, President Director of PT Indonesia International Expo. Joining the organisation in 2016, he notes the company had a few difficulties with growth. However, in the year since his appointment it has seen a 30 per cent increase – so far. A laudable achievement indeed.

In the plush confines of his office in the upper reaches of the vast space, Ryan tells us about his journey to becoming president director. Taking a degree in International Law from Universitas Kristen Indonesia (UKI) he pursued a course later in hospitality management from the American Hospitality Academy. (AMHA). First entering the ranks of management as General Manager of a hotel in Bali – at the young age of 28 no less – he quickly ascended the ladder given his proclivity for business and administration.

Ryan notes that the recent trend of Indonesians returning from studies overseas to take leadership positions at home is due to more training and more emphasis on one’s education. “When one has overseas eperience and brings back the technical knowledge, they can make important contributions,” he says, adding that one needs to have a leadership mindset regardless of one’s ethnic background. “It used to be that Indonesians were afraid of or didn’t want to interact with foreigners, but now it’s not the case. The most important thing is to create the right message to management,” he says, adding that in his career, he has often replaced expatriates who held positions before him and that often his roles involve supervising expatriate workers.

He says the main purpose of ICE was to construct an establishement that would serve as a catalyst centre for the creative industry in Indonesia. Attracting such names as the Big Bad Wolf book fair, Selena Gomez and Ed Sheeran who is scheduled to perform in November, the organisation also caters to groups such as the Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) who recently hosted a convention there. While creating the ‘wow effect’ is crucial, “as a new establishment, streamlining is the most important,” Ryan says. There are a few parties involved in the operations. There is IIE as a joint venture company between Kompas Gramedia Group and Sinarmas land, Deutsche Messe as the operator of the venue, Santika as the hotel operator and PT IIG as professional event organiser (of which he is also president director).

ICE aims to service a broad spectrum of society. There are the aforementioned corporate clients and well-known international acts that have performed, but there are also events centered on local art and culture so as to attract a more regional and local audience as well such as Pekan Raya Indonesia. Such events are held with Indonesian hospital to international standards, he notes.

FABCI, The International Real Estate Federation recently recognised the group with an award, which has made it a mission to attract more visitors to the country via its vast space and available resources.

With regard to Indonesia’s development, Ryan notes that it is important that the private and public sectors work hand in hand. While both sectors support each other here, Ryan says streamlining processes is important, especially with regard to implementation of policies, and calls for it to be simplified so as to facilitate larger – and easier – growth across industry. “The capital region needs to ensure that the process is eased to make the economy move in every sector,” he says. “The fact that world trade is changing today because of advanced technology should be followed by updated regulation,” he adds.

Clearly with the right tools such as marketing and other strategies, Jakarta can be on the radar in terms of convention and exhibition hosting services. After all as Ryan says, “In this industry, you have to start small, and when you grow, you move to a bigger space and the terminal ending is ICE.”

Although incredibly busy with the operations of the organisation, Ryan firmly believes in the need to recharge oneself periodically to maximise one’s professional capabilities. Although one cannot be truly disconnected while away from work he maintains that “what is best is the manage our time and control our brain”—essentially taking time out to do one thing before another—such as completing one’s work and then indulging in something leisurely such as his favourite activity, swimming. He adds that it is important to have a better work-life balance and invokes the age-old adage mens sana in corpore sano (A healthy mind in a healthy body). As far as advising the next generation of Indonesian leaders, Ryan notes that in this, the ‘human to human’ industry one needs to be prepared for hard work – and fun – and eventually find one’s balance.

The privately owned company is certain a gem in Indonesia’s real estate market and with leaders like Ryan there is little doubt that Indonesia will ascend the ranks of economic development quickly.

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