Indonesia enticing Middle Eastern visitors


Indonesia’s competitive prices and its cultural and natural attractions are encouraging its tourism growth. Last year it hosted 46,000 visitors from the Middle East, and this year the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism hopes to attract 80,000 from the region, according to the Ministry’s director general of marketing, Dr Sapta Nirwandar.

Speaking to TTN at the ATM, Nirwandar said, “With tourism representing the second largest source of foreign capital in Indonesia, and amounting to nine per cent of gross domestic product, the Middle East has been pinpointed as a key growth area for increased inbound travellers,” he said.
During the show he also announced the appointment of a Dubai based tourism marketing agent to promote tourism to Indonesia from the Gulf and Middle East, and that this agent would be sending out messages to all Middle Eastern outbound travel agents and their clients about Indonesia’s attributes.
“2008 has been designated Visit Indonesia Year, designed to promote the very many and varied attractions throughout this beautiful archipelago, after the country experienced a number of both natural and man made crises in previous years,” said Nirwandar.
As a result of this campaign, and other increased promotional activities overseas, the Ministry is aiming to reach its target of attracting seven million international visitors to Indonesia by the end of 2008.
Besides the more popular attractions the Ministry would like to show its Middle Eastern guests such as Bali, the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites at Borobudur Temple or Prambanan Temple in Java, it also hopes to promote areas off the beaten track. Areas include West Java, West Sumatra, North Sulawesi and Bintan, an island offering “international classed golf courses with no waiting”.
“All of these are in a safe, family-oriented environment. 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,” said Nirwandar.