National tourism leaders are publicly expressing the hope that the next minister charged with responsibility over tourism in the next presidential cabinet be a professional with experience in the national tourism industry.
The chairman of the Indonesian Exhibitors Association (Asperrapi), Effi Setiabudi, and quoted by Bisnis Bali, said in Jakarta that said tourism needs professional management that is able to protect and increase much needed foreign exchange.
“The effects of tourism are felt at every level of society, not only among hoteliers, restaurant operators and transportation companies, but also among handicraft makers and informal traders who are impacted by tourism activities,” explained Setiabudi.
She continued, saying Indonesia’s next tourism minister must be someone accustomed to handling tourism and creative economy matters because of the wide effect of tourism on large cross sections of Indonesian society. “Therefore, tourism must be handled by a circle of professionals, and not in a slipshod manner,” she said.
She also explained that tourism generated US$10 billion dollars in foreign exchange in 2013, becoming the fourth largest source of foreign exchange after gas and minerals, coal and palm oil.
Setiabudi said she sees many tourism leaders capable of filling the role of tourism and creative economy minister in the next cabinet. “One example,” she said, “is Yanti Sukamdani who currently heads the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board (BPPI) . In addition to working for decades in a professional capacity in the country’s tourism business, she has also worked in both national and international tourism organizations proving her expertise in all areas related to tourism.”
Effi Setiabudi added that a minister must have wide-ranging networks and hands that are clean.
Echoing Setiabudi’s sentiments is I Nyoman Kandia, the president of the Southeast Asia Tour Guide Association and chairman of the Indonesian Guide Association (HPI).
“Experience, networks and professionalism – these are what’s important. I think tourism needs an individual to help us rise up and become the main economic force in Indonesia,” said Kandia.
Wiryanti Sukamdani (shown in illustration) is a well-known figure in tourism circles, both in Indonesia and across ASEAN. She serves as the chairman of the BPPI and the chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI). She is a graduate of Cornell University (USA) and has served in the past as the president of ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) and vice-chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (KADIN).
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