Australia is expanding efforts to encourage two-way tourism between Australia and Indonesia as a key driver of shared economic growth and more knowledge of each others country.
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson said tourism powers economies and supports communities.
"We want to increase tourism in both directions. The Indonesian Government has already recognised the potential economic boost a strong tourism industry can deliver," the ambassador was quoted as saying by the Australian Embassy here on its website.
According to the ambassador, Australian tourism can help Indonesia realise that vision. More than a million Australians visit Indonesia every year. Australian tourists contribute 18 trillion IDR (AUD$1.8 billion) a year to the Indonesian economy, Ambassador Grigson said on Tuesday.
He said as Indonesia seeks to develop its tourism industry beyond Bali, ease of travel is integral to its success. Indonesia has already experienced a 19 per cent increase in tourists from countries which were granted visa free access in 2015.
"A quarter of all tourists to Bali are Australian. We want to see more Australians come to Indonesia and experience sunrise at Mount Bromo, taste the spices of Padang and watch the sunset at Borobudur," Grigson told Indonesian tourism industry representatives in a speech in Jakarta.
Beyond these economic benefits, tourism builds links between people. It challenges stereotypes. It opens up new worlds and greater understanding.
"I want more Indonesians to visit Australia.We have world class cuisine, galleries and unique experiences. With famous wildlife, fabulous wine and fantastic weather, Australia beats any other destination," he said.
Australia was the tenth most popular destination for Indonesian tourists in 2014 with a total of 149,800 visitors, up 7.6 per cent from 2013.
More Indonesians travelling to Australia will make expanded flight routes between Australia and Indonesia more viable in the long-term, bringing benefits to both our economies.
"Indonesian investors may also be missing out on opportunities to capitalise on some of the major tourism infrastructure projects currently underway in Australia. In 2014 alone, investment in the Australian tourism industry was valued at $53.7 billion," he said.
He added that the more Australians and Indonesians experience each others countries, the deeper their connections become.
"The tourism industry is integral to the prosperity of both our countries. Now is the time for us to reach out to each other as neighbours and shape our futures together," Grigson said. (Antara)