Big Indonesian drive to woo M’sian tourists


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 08 Oct 2003

BY CELESTE FONG

CLOSER co-operation between Malaysia and Indonesia will not only help further strengthen the ties between the two countries but also promote cross-border tourism, said a senior Indonesian Culture and Tourism Ministry official. 

“We can help each other to 'exchange' tourists from the Asean countries,” said the ministry's Promotion for Asean, Middle East and Africa Office deputy director Surya Dharma on Monday before the launch of the Indonesia Travel Mart in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. 

He said the ministry had identified five major potential markets – China, India, Middle East, East Europe and South Africa – to promote Indonesian destinations. 

From left: PATA North Sulawesi Chapter chairman Jeremy H. Barnes, Meity Robot, senior advisor to the Indonesian Cultural and Toursim Minister Sambudjo Parikesit and Surya Dharma in a discussion to promote Indonesia in Kuala Lumpur Monday.

This year, he said, the ministry's theme was “marine tourism” and it would further promote Indonesia as the archipelago nation of over 17,508 islands. 

According to the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies Association president Meity Robot, hotel room occupancy rate had improved after the Bali bombings and the recent one in Jakarta, standing at 60% for five-star hotels, 50% for four-star ones, and 40% for three-star ones in Jakarta for August. 

To help promote the country, she said, the government had also appointed a public relations company here to regulate and update information on tourism in Indonesia. 

“We want to re-introduce ourselves to our neighbours – Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – to present a fresh and positive image of our country in the wake of the negative events that have taken place,” she said. 

Referring to the recent bombings in Jakarta as a “misfortune,” Jakarta Tourism Office executive director Aurora Tambunan said such incidents could happen in any country. 

She said Indonesia was keen to promote its destinations, especially Jakarta to Malaysians, citing the RM799 special three-day-two-night package to Jakarta as an example. 

“We had about 74,000 tourists from Malaysia in 2002. But we are targeting to have more,” she said.  

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