INDONESIA’S vice minister of tourism and creative economy Dr Sapta Nirwandar led a 26-member delegation from Indonesia to the recent Arabian Travel Market 2012 in Dubai, UAE.
Comprising provincial tourism offices, hoteliers, tour operators and tourism resorts, the team was part of Indonesia’s strategy to boost awareness of what the country can offer Middle Eastern visitors.
With the number of travellers increasing year on year from the region, the numbers are a strong indication of the efforts of the tourism ministry. From the UAE alone, there was a 37.6 per cent increase in visitors from 2010 to 2011 with 2012 expected to yield a 50 per cent increase taking the number of UAE visitors to 18,000.
But it’s not just the UAE that finds the destination desirable; the Middle East as a whole is a strong market with over 93,000 visitors recorded in 2011 and for 2012, Indonesia hopes to attract 160,000 visitors from the region.
Positioning itself as a quality destination that offers value for money, Indonesia is pressing ahead with a five-pronged tourism marketing strategy.
“We promote Indonesia in the Middle East in five ways,” said Dr Nirwandar. “First, we are present in both large and small travel markets, in Jeddah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi for example. We conduct a lot of PR (public relations) with newspapers and magazines. We also undertake sales missions where we organise special meetings between our industry and the respective local industry and create a forum to talk about business. The fourth strategy, which we have been doing very well, is familiarisation trips where we invite travel writers, travel agents, and celebrities to Indonesia. Finally, we team up with airlines such as Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways to jointly promiote Indonesia.”
With strong Islamic values shared between both regions, Indonesia is seen as a natural destination for the Middle East. In addition, the tourism products such as spas, shopping, dining, cruising and leisure activities as well as heritage and culture are a huge draw.
By Karen Osman