New government makes tourism a number one priority
Indonesia is more attractive than ever among European outbound markets. An increased budget for promotion, brand awareness campaigns and new destinations are among the key elements to success…
“We are so happy with the result”, says Nia Niscaya, Director of International Tourism Promotion, Indonesia Ministry of Tourism, with a large smile on her face as she proudly shows the latest spot from Indonesia tourism recently broadcast on CNN. The video shows beautiful landscapes, smiling faces and majestic monuments, with the evocative voice of Louis Armstrong singing his song “What a wonderful world”.
“It was an expensive budget for this TV spot on CNN, but it paid off,” says Niscaya. “It really helps us to raise awareness for our brand ‘Wonderful Indonesia’. If the brand is stronger, it becomes naturally easier to sell around the world.”
With a new government coming into power in Indonesia in 2015, tourism has been made a top economic priority.
Budgets are sharply up with “50% of promotion budget being affected to brand awareness, 30% for advertising and 20% for our presence at events around the world. In fact, IFTM Top Resa is a priority among travel shows in Europe as France has grown very strongly over the last decade”, adds Niscaya.
2016 might indeed turn into yet another new record year for Indonesia’s tourism. From January to July, Indonesia welcomed 6.32 million international travellers, up 7.6% over the previous year. Europe as a source market is doing even better since the beginning of the year, being one of the fastest growing inbound market segments for the country. European arrivals already reached 585,884 from January to July, up 19.4% over the same period in 2014. The UK remains the main market from Europe with 181,000 travellers – up by 21.5%; France confirms its position as Indonesia’s second largest European inbound market with 135,000 arrivals, up by 20.7% over the previous year. It is followed by Germany with 118,000 arrivals (up by 20.3%) and the Netherlands (up by 11.5%). “We are witnessing a return of Russian travellers after a few years decline. Russian numbers are up by almost 15%”, adds the Indonesian Director of International Promotion.
The favourable evolution is supported by the country’s very open visa policy. Indonesia now has one of the most liberal visa regimes in the world, providing free visa on arrivals to 169 countries: a record! “This is also supported by better air connectivity. Garuda is now flying to more destinations in Europe while middle-eastern carriers provide easy one-stop connections from dozens of European cities”, says Niscaya.
Within Indonesia, the government now tries to spread tourism benefits beyond Bali, Indonesia’s iconic destination which captivates 40% of all arrivals. “Our President identified 10 new tourism spots which have now absolute priority for development. This is what we call our “10 New Bali beyond Bali”, explains the Director.
Among identified “New Bali” is Lake Toba in North Sumatra with its pristine waters and beautiful traditional Batak villages. “We support there infrastructure development such as a new regional airport in Silangit near the Lake”, describes Niscaya.
Other new spots include Tanjung Kelitung in the province of Bangka Belitung, an island just off the coast of Sumatra. The place is considered to have some of Indonesia’s most pristine beaches.
Other places identified by the Ministry of Tourism as priority destinations include Tanjung Lesung (Banten), Seribu Islands (Jakarta), Borobudur Temple (Central Java), Mount Bromo (East Java), Mandalika Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara), Komodo Island (East Nusa Tenggara), Wakatobi National Park (Southeast Sulawesi), and Morotai (North Maluku). “All these destinations have been selected for their pristine landscapes and strong cultural backgrounds. However, they often proper infrastructure to welcome tourists. And this is where the government is stepping up to improve their access and provide international standard facilities and services”, says Mrs. Niscaya. “More than ever, we consider tourism as a true asset for the well-being of all Indonesians”.