Indonesia's Ambassador to Great Britain and Ireland, Dr. Marty Natalegawa, has called on Garuda Indonesia to re-establish flights between Jakarta and London in order to increase tourism flows from Europe.
In comments made at opening of he Indonesian Pavilion at World Travel Mart 2006 on November 6, 2006, and quoted by the National News Service Antara, Natalegawa said, "now is the time for Garuda to re-open flights to London."
At the major travel event held for 4 days at London's Excel Exhibition Center, some 30 representatives of Indonesian hotels, ground operators and provincial promotional bodies joined in the Indonesian Pavilion which was dominated by a massive model of Java's ancient Hindu temple of Prambanan.
Ambassador Natalegawa's comments, calling for the re-establishment of flight services between Indonesia and London, comes following the absence for several years of the National Carrier on flight routes to the U.K. and Europe. "In terms of European tourists," explained the Ambassador, "the English rank second only to the Germans." Adding, "if direct flights (to Indonesia) were recommenced hopefully the number of English tourists to the country would increase."
The Indonesian Ambassador, who served as the Director of International Organizations at the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs prior to his London posting, also explained that the total number of U.K. visitors to Indonesia in 2005 totaled 214,000 people, nearly doubling the totals achieved in 2004, but still a small portion of the estimated 10 million U.K. residents who travel abroad every year.
In describing the traveling habit of U.K. tourists, the Ambassador describe the extended preferred period of travel stretching from the end of Summer through the following Spring and the tendency to include Australia and New Zealand in combination with an Indonesian holiday.
The Ambassador, who also once served as the Spokesman for the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs, has tasked his Embassy staff to endeavor to provide detailed information on Indonesian travel to the numerous niche markets found in the U.K., including travelers with keen interest in diving and history.
"I am optimistic that Indonesia can expand the desire of English and European tourists to visit Indonesia providing all parties are prepared to work hard," added Ambassador Natalegawa.
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