MarkPlus CEO & Co-Founder Hermawan Kartajaya moderating a panel discussion. Source: MarkPlus
Indonesia has laid out an ambitious tourism target – that of almost doubling its foreign traveller arrivals to 20 million by 2019. The initiative is aimed at boosting contribution of foreign exchange earnings from tourism in the economy, which have steadily gone up in recent years. There have been strategic measures to this end, such as the visa-free facility which is due to be extended to include 90 countries all over the world by the end of this year, from the current 45.
There are however big challenges to overcome for Indonesia to brace up for the 20-million challenge. The biggest perhaps would be in popularising the diversity of its tourism potential; despite its natural and scenic diversity spreading across thousands of islands, tourism industry is highly concentrated in Jakarta and Bali. A mammoth task facing the tourism ministry is developing tourism competitiveness of other provinces, capitalising on the natural and man-made attractions, heritage, and cultural diversity. Lack of infrastructure, in terms of transportation and hospitality, continues to be a dampener for local and foreign travellers eyeing locations other than Bali and Jakarta.
Nevertheless, foreign tourist arrivals have been on a rise, growing by more than 7% last year to 9.44 million. Tourism budget has almost been quadrupled to IDR1.35 trillion (USD135m), a large sum allocated for international spending on promotion through travel magazines and TV advertisements.
In order to encourage a dialogue between government representatives and industry practitioners on how to improve Indonesia’s tourism competitiveness, MarkPlus Centre for Tourism and Hospitality organised a strategic discussion today on the topic “One Year Wonderful Indonesia – Pesona Indonesia: Achievements and Challenges.”
While the government is undertaking strategic measures through branding, industry stakeholders have a bigger task cut out in terms of improving their quality of service to customers to win the heart of tourists. Another area with great potential was to develop MICE, as well as organising events and festivals and special tours. MICE attracts business travellers who tend to spend greater than leisure travellers, also facilitating environment for business partnerships and trade deals. Special events and festivals organised at regional levels, on the other hand, would encourage participation of the local community, aiding in the economic development of the region such as by creating more jobs and boosting local handicraft industry.