Ensure our piece of paradise is not forgotten - Tourism Indonesia




Monday, October 8, 2007

Ensure our piece of paradise is not forgotten

In the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2007 by the World Economic Forum, Singapore ranked 8th to become the only Southeast Asian country in the top 20.

Where does that leaves Indonesia? The Ministry of Culture and Tourism expects to net 6 million foreign visitors in 2007, pale in comparison with Malaysia 20.1, Thailand 14.8 and even the tiny city-state of Singapore with 10.2 million visitors.

Apart from the government's more formal approach, we are seeing more surges in private members-only styles of niche tourism in Indonesia. Various kinds of spiritual, cultural, adventure and culinary tourism have recently sprouted all over Indonesia-- many of them owned and or operated at least partly by foreigners.

Designed to attract specific market segments, or deep wallets, they have their own ways around the government's restrictions on exclusivity. Take a batik museum in Java for instance; there is no big banner or wide-paved-entry from the main road. Most onlookers will mistake the tiny sign for the direction to the village hall or something.

To preserve the hundreds-of-years-old batik textiles, limiting visitors is a must. But then, not everybody is prepared to dig $20 for a lunch break in the museum's restaurant. In 2000, local villagers protested the museum for lack of legality, exclusivity, and arrogance.

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