The number of foreign tourists in Yogyakarta still depends on Indonesia’s main tourism destinations, such as Bali. That is the reason the Yogyakarta government has tried to improve their tourism industry through a world travel fair or “Travelmart”, from May 6 to 8.
The Head of Yogyakarta Tourism Office, Tazbir, said that Yogyakarta is not as popular as Bali internationally. In general, foreign tourists go to Yogyakarta as their second destination after Bali or after Jakarta for business trips. “If the number of tourists in Bali drops, it will also decline in Yogyakarta. The same thing will happen if the number of visitors to Jakarta drops,” said Tazbir, explaining the pattern of foreign tourists’ visit to Yogyakarta, yesterday.
Admittedly, Yogyakarta could not sell itself in the world tourism market yet. In addition to the lack of promotion overseas, there is also the absence of direct flights from the tourists’ country of origin to Yogyakarta. They have to go either through Bali or Jakarta.
According to Tazbir, at least 100 travel agents from 10 countries will attend the mart. They are from Singapore, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Netherlands, Abu Dhabi and Australia. They are expected to be able to increase Yogyakarta’s popularity and make it a primary destination. “So Yogyakarta will no longer be a part of Bali’s sales pitch,” he said.
This is the second Travelmart organized by the Yogyakarta Government. As many as 90 buyers participated last year. Temple visits, such as to Borobudur and Prambanan, are still considered the most attractive activities for tourists.
Edwin Ismedi Himna, Chairman of the Indonesia Tours and Travel Agencies Association in Yogyakarta, said that from a number of foreign tour agencies, 50 of them were ready to participate in Travelmart. They come from the Netherlands, Malaysia and Singapore. “They have confirmed their attendance,” said Edwin.
According to Edwin, they do not need to set a high target. With 80 travel agents, they can get maximum promotion as long as they are big and trusted agencies. Travelmart, he added, is not only aimed to promote Yogyakarta, it will also showcase other parts of Central Java. “Solo and Ambarawa,” he cited as examples.
By ANANG ZAKARIA, tempointeractive.com