Sunday, October 21, 2012

Indonesia to focus on Asia as EU travelers decline

The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry plans to allocate the bulk of its promotion spending on targeting tourists across Asia next year as the eurozone crisis shows no sign of quick resolution in the 
near future. 

Deputy Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sapta Nirwandar said the countries would include ASEAN countries, Australia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan. 

“We are going to focus our promotion and marketing activities in Asia and Australia because the growth [of tourist arrivals] from these regions is good. The growth [in Asia and Australia] can offset the decreasing number of tourist arrivals from Europe,” Sapta said in Jakarta on Saturday on the sidelines of the Indonesia Tourism and Creative Economy Fair (ITCEF) 2012. 

According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), neighboring Malaysia and Singapore are the biggest tourist contributors to Indonesia. The agency recorded 704,644 Malaysians and 788,249 Singaporeans visiting the country during the first-eight months of this year. Both booked approximately 7 percent increases from the same period last year.   

Tourists from China and Thailand grew by 25.54 percent and 10.89 percent, respectively, from January to August this year compared to the same period last year. The agency recorded that 412,698 Chinese and 55,847 Thais came to Indonesia, especially Bali and Yogyakarta, during the period. 

Strong growth was also recorded from the Philippines with 74,492 tourists from that country visiting Indonesia in the first-eight months of 2012, up by 12.02 percent from the same period in 2011. 

“The Philippines is one of the best markets in ASEAN and we do believe we will see more Filipinos coming to our country next year,” he said.

He said the ministry would conduct more sales missions, direct selling and participate in international festivals and events in those countries.   

Meanwhile, BPS data showed decreasing tourist arrivals from European Union (EU) countries, especially the Netherlands, one of Indonesia’s traditional tourist markets. 

The agency recorded 99,601 tourists from the Netherlands from January to August 2012, a 5.65 percent decrease from the same period last year. 

France and Germany were countries in Western Europe that showed growth with the number of tourists from both countries increasing by 3.83 percent and 8.08 percent, respectively, as of August this year.      

Before the crisis hit the continent, tourist arrivals from Europe grew by around 15 to 20 percent a year, he said. 

“But, we will still promote Indonesia’s best destinations to Europe because we have to maintain this market; they remain important to us,” he added.  

He said the ministry, together with the Indonesian Tourism Board (BPPI), was going to conduct aggressive marketing activities in Europe only in Russia because it was a promising market and relatively crisis-resilient.

The BPS data showed as many as 59,294 Russian tourists visited the country during January–August this year, up by almost 6 percent from the same period last year. 


BPPI chairwoman Wiryanti Sukamdani said that they would share the task of entering the targeted markets.

In Russia for instance, the BPPI would focus their promotion in St. Petersburg while the ministry would manage the market in Moscow. 

“Russia is a big country and we realize that we cannot work alone to penetrate the market. So, task-sharing is the best strategy,” Wiryanti said. 

The task-sharing method was also implemented in the Chinese market. The government focused on the northern part of China while the BPPI worked on the southern end, she said.   

The number of tourist arrivals from January to August was 5.21 million, a 5 percent increase from the 4.96 million in the same period last year.  From that figure, 3.39 million tourists came from Asia and Australia.

The government has set a target of attracting 9 million foreign tourists in 2013, a 12.5 percent increase from this year’s target of 8 million. 

The government is optimistic about reaching the target because Indonesia will host world-class events including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Meeting, Miss World 2013, the World Cultural Forum and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Meeting. (Jakarta Post)

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