India moves up on Indonesia’s tourism agenda

Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism is refining its strategy to grow arrivals from India, with the market showing strong promise last year despite limited direct air connectivity.

Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s tourism minister, said in a statement: “India has become top five markets to Indonesia with the growth rate of 30 per cent, second highest growth rate after China (last year).”

Bali is currently popular but the ministry wants to help Indian agents promote other Indonesian destinations; pictured, Tanah Lot, a Hindu temple and tourist hotspot in Bali

Despite few direct air links between the two countries, arrivals from India last year totalled 485,000. In the first two months of this year, arrivals from India numbered 87,000, higher than the traditional markets of Japan (74,000 arrivals) and South Korea (63,000), according to the ministry’s data.

Commenting on the target of 700,000 arrivals from India this year, Nia Niscaya, deputy minister for tourism marketing development II (Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe), said: “That is a high target to achieve. With limited seat capacity and direct service (Denpasar-Mumbai provided by Garuda Indonesia), we would like to optimise the available seats by making Singapore and Kuala Lumpur as hubs.”

The strategy to entice travellers to Singapore and Malaysia to extend their stays to Indonesia will be bolstered by the ministry’s Hot Deal packages to Batam-Bintam and Jakarta, as well as culture and heritage tours to Jogjakarta and beach resorts like Lombok.

In addition, the ministry is considering opening a Visit Indonesia Tourism Office (VITO) in Southern India, its third in the country after New Delhi and Mumbai.

Meanwhile, promoting destinations beyond Bali continues to be on the destination’s agenda.

“During our recent visit to India, major travel companies (Cox & Kings, Thomas Cook India, Yatra, MakeMyTrip and FCM Travel Solutions) told us Bali sold itself and asked us to come up with other destinations to promote. We plan to meet their needs,” Sigit Witjaksana, director of tourism marketing for Southern and Central Asia, Middle East and Africa, said.

Apart from participating at trade shows in India, the ministry intends to organise a sales mission to Mumbai, New Delhi, Calcutta, Chenai, Hyderabat and Ahmedabad in July.

Sigit said his department’s marketing budget was 17 billion rupiah (US$1.2 million). On top of that, the marketing communications department has three billion rupiah for digital marketing and ad placements for India.

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