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India lures young Indonesians with festival campaign
S Puvaneswary, Bali, March 30, 2015

THE Indian Embassy in Indonesia is working hard to increase Indonesian arrivals, especially the youths, through the Festival of India in Indonesia campaign that runs up to June 21, despite the lack of direct flights between the two countries.

Speaking at a press conference during the Indian Travel Congress 2015 in Bali, ambassador of India to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Gurjit Singh, said 30 events “targeted at young people” have been lined up in 16 Indonesian cities, including Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Surabaya and Semarang.

The events include folk dances such as bhangra and Gujarati Garba, masked dances and puppet shows, photo exhibitions, and literary and cross-cultural exchanges with Indonesian authors.

The congress was held in Bali to support the campaign, by giving the Indonesian exhibitors an opportunity to network with Indian travel consultants and to experience Indian culture and cuisine, said Sunil Kumar, president of the Travel Agents Association of India.

This was the first time the congress's travel mart component also had exhibitors from India promoting inbound tourism to India.

Gurjit added: “We are also promoting education tourism to encourage young people to study in India, and inviting Indonesian bloggers with big followings on tours to India so they will blog about their experiences.”

Additionally, Gurjit said the embassy wants to ride on Indonesia’s current Bollywood craze and has proposed to India’s Ministry of Tourism to introduce tours of four circuits where Bollywood films were shot.

From 2012 to 2014, Indonesian arrivals to India doubled from 25,000 to 50,000, while arrivals from India to Indonesia also doubled from 125,000 to 250,000.

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