Indonesia set to achieve targets

Indonesia is gearing to attract more visitors, says Rahayu (below)

INDONESIA, the largest country in south-east Asia, had a significant presence at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) featuring more than 40 travel and tourism companies in its stand. It highlighted the ‘Beyond Bali’ theme and seven special interest products such as nature-based eco-tourism, sports, cruises, culture and heritage.

The Indonesia pavilion featured a design inspired by the traditional wooden phinisi sail boat of the Bugis seafarers in South Sulawesi, which survives today as the last living traditional wooden sail ship in the world.

Traditional dances and musical performances from various regions provided insights into the 700 different languages and cultures of the 300 ethnic groups of the Indonesian archipelago.

In 2012, Indonesia welcomed 8.4 million tourists and is aiming to increase this to 8.6 million tourists in 2013. With international arrivals during September this year up by a significant 12.7 per cent due to a large number of events and conventions, including the Miss World pageant, it would seem the destination is in line to achieve its goal. As a result, by September 2013, Indonesia had attained 75 per cent of its total target for the year.

Focusing on 16 key source markets, Singapore (15.11 per cent), Malaysia (13.86 per cent), Australia (11.42 per cent), China (9.85 per cent) and Japan (5.78 per cent) consistently remain the top five markets for arrivals. European countries still lagged behind due to the recession.

However, the UK remains the biggest market from Europe with approximately 201,000 tourists in 2012. Visitors from the British Isles will also most likely increase in 2014 thanks to the London-Jakarta launch of Garuda Airlines which will fly five times a week from May, 2014. It’s been 10 years since the airline has been in London, and is a major development for the airline.

As a member of G20 and having a strong economy, the variety of the destination appeals to all segments of travellers including Mice, business and leisure. A strategy has been devised which is called the 16-7-16 formula which focuses on 16 key markets with seven themed tourism sectors, promoting 16 destinations within Indonesia. Particular emphasis will be on cruising, especially in the relatively unspoilt eastern part of the country building on the 120,000 tourists who visited on cruise ships in 2012. Another major focus will be golf tourism where average spend per person is almost double that of the average visitor.

Home to 17,500 islands, the tag line ‘Beyond Bali’ is a campaign designed to attract people to explore other parts of the country.

Bali still tops the number of arrivals at 2.38 million followed by Jakarta at 1.66 million during January to September, 2013 but tourism authorities are keep to develop and promote new destinations that offer a glimpse of Indonesia’s outstanding natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

While visitors can choose from a beautiful beach holiday in the world-famous ‘Island of the Gods’, other attractions will tempt travellers such as the archaeological wonders including the Unesco World Heritage Sites of Borobudur and Prambanan Temples in Central Java, shopping sprees in Jakarta and Bandung, eco-tourism destinations in Kalimantan and Sumatra, the unique Komodo ‘dragons’ in the Komodo islands, and the fascinating Spice Islands.

Augustini Rahayu, deputy director of International Promotion for Europe, told TTN she was confident of the tourism strategy but was also aware of potential challenges.

“We have to ensure we keep up with the digital era and participate in events such as WTM. We also have plans to attract visitors who land in Bali to others parts of the country,” she said.

By Karen Osman