Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tourism offers unmissable business opportunities for Indonesia

As with people of all nationalities, many Indonesians spend their whole lives in their provinces, never traveling far from home.

About 13 percent of the population travel beyond what is required by their daily routines. That figure typically drops by 2 or 3 percent when you eliminate those who travel unexpectedly owing to unforeseen business or family matters.

In a year, only 3 percent of Indonesians travel by plane, the same 3 percent who live the so-called "good life" -- that of plastic cards, new cars and luxury holidays -- while just over 1 percent of all Indonesians have traveled overseas in the last 12 months, either for business or pleasure.

Sixty-five percent of travelers use buses, making it the most popular form of transportation, even during holdidays. A further 20 percent hop on their family motorbike for vacation.

Another 7 percent travel during holidays by cars owned within the family or by friends, while a mere 2 percent take the boat or ferry.

These statistics are compiled by the country's largest syndicated survey operator, Roy Morgan Single Source, which surveys more than 27,000 Indonesian respondents annually.

Equally important is the need for a tourist-friendly local government that has its citizens' welfare at the top of its agenda.

Here is an open invitation to form a coalition of the willing and to do some good and make some money: would an official from the ministry, a provincial government, a bank or the Investment Coordinating Board please stand up?

An e-mail to this writer from any of the above would result in an enthusiastic response by a group of capable, experienced investors who wish to execute a textbook construction of a new resort that would make proud all concerned.

If challenged to put my energy where my mouth is by readers of this column, I would join this coalition and dedicate as much time as I could to bring an eco-friendly, socially responsible resort to fruition in Indonesia.

It can be done, and with a greater dividend than any new city shopping mall could ever offer.

The writer can be contacted at Debnath.Guharoy@roymorgan.com

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