The Middle Eastern tourism market is growing in such importance that Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism is to announce the appointment of a local tourism promotion marketing company.
Speaking in the run up to the Arabian Travel Market, Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr Jero Wacik said that he had a message of great opportunities for all outbound travel agents and their clients: ‘Indonesia has it all. It is truly the destination that is the Ultimate in Diversity!
‘Indonesia offers such a variety to our Middle Eastern friends – a magical beach holiday in Bali; enjoying cultural diversity and heritage wonders such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple in Java; fantastic shopping at great prices in Jakarta and Bandung; playing golf with no waiting and at excellent value on international class courses throughout the country; marvellous spas with both traditional and international health and beauty treatments; and overall, a safe, family-oriented environment,’ he enthused.
‘And as the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia also offers an environment that is very hospitable and welcoming to those of the Islamic faith’.
Mr Wacik explained that tourism is the second largest source of foreign exchange for Indonesia, after patrol and gas, and amounts to nine per cent of gross domestic product.
Bali remains the most popular destination, whilst the capital, Jakarta, is growing its portfolio in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market.
‘2008 has been designated Visit Indonesia Year,’ he continued. ‘This represents a year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Indonesia’s Awakening Day – which commemorates the birth of Indonesia’s nationalist movement. As a result, we aim to attract seven million international visitors to the country by the end of this year’.
‘Special events are being put together across the archipelago throughout 2008, featuring music, culture, the arts, festivals and sport. But we have also put together special packages featuring a number of attractions such as adventure tourism, cuisine, cultural heritage, diving and cruising, golf, shopping, spas and spiritual destinations’.
Mr Wacik also explained that cruise tourism is another growing segment of the Indonesian tourism market. ‘We are working hard with our partners in the private sector – both in Indonesia and overseas – to promote a number of special interest tourism attractions.
We see strong growth potential in cruise tourism for Indonesia. With its great natural beauty, wide cultural diversity, and an archipelago of 17,500 islands set in a tropical sea, Indonesia is truly a cruising paradise. We are strategically located between Singapore and Australia, and Singapore is now the major Southeast Asian hub for the booming cruise industry in the Asia Pacific’.
‘We are actively working to encourage cruise tourism to grow in Indonesia by improving our port and harbour infrastructure, notably with Benoa in Bali, to accommodate a wider range of cruise ships, offer more cruise supporting services, and to make Bali a key turnaround port cruise destination for SE Asia’.
To attract private sector investment in tourism development, the government has adopted a fiscal incentives policy for development projects such as hotels, tourist resorts, recreational parks, and convention facilities.
Already, the government has successfully targeted investors from the Middle East in particular, as the number of UAE’s tourist visiting Indonesia has significantly increasing with the annual growth rate up to 10% to 13%, even it has been reach 69% at the year 2005.
For instance, the UAE’s Emaar Properties Plc. has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to invest a total of $600m in the development of a tourist resort of 1,200 hectares in the south of Lombok.
Mr Wacik concluded by saying that it was no surprise that Bali remains Indonesia’s most popular tourism destination. ‘Tourist arrivals in Bali rose 34% in the first half of 2007 compared with the previous year.
Once again it was voted the World’s Best Island Destination by US-based Travel & Leisure Magazine; whilst the Montreal Gazette described it as the destination of choice for foreign dreamers searching for the ultimate tropical utopia.
‘In sum, the Ministry is doing its best to help grow Indonesian tourism, to bring the maximum benefits to our people, and to promote Indonesia as a wonderful and hospitable destination for visitors truly offering the Ultimate in Diversity’.