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Indonesia's VP Expresses Heightened Interest in Bali Tourism

VP Kalla Proclaims New 'Beautiful Bali Indonesia' Motto and Promises Big Boost in Tourism Budget.

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During a Thursday, December 7, 2006, visit to Bali to meet with the Island's tourism leaders, Indonesian Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla declared Bali the gateway for visitors to Indonesia and the key to the revival of the nationís tourism fortunes.

Beautiful Bali Indonesia

As reported by Antara News Agency, the VP underlined his conviction that Bali must serve as the gateway to Indonesian tourism by ordering the Culture and Tourism Ministry and urging all elements of the tourism industry to begin using "Beautiful Bali Indonesia" as a motto for the promotion of Indonesian tourism. Complaining that tourism promotion has been plagued by a "lack of funds and an unclear theme," he called on Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik to make movies featuring interesting tourism destination nationwide under the "Beautiful Bali Indonesia" theme, promoting Indonesia's many "Beyond Bali" attractions.

Dialogue with Bali Travel Industry

During a dialogue with local tourism industry members, the VP heard numerous complaints citing the lack of mass transportation, poor airport service in Bali and international travel warnings as major impediments to rebuilding Bali's tourism. Defending Bali's Airport services, Kalla insisted that "modernity" was of secondary importance in the provision of airport services, claiming that Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport was better in quality than those in Hawaii or Spain.

"The important thing of an airport is its function, not its modernity because tourists don't want to stay longer at the airport," the Vice President said.

More Money Promised for Tourism

During his visit VP Kalla promised that the budget for tourism promotion would receive a massive increase in 2007, increasing from US$6 million to US10 million.

Such an increase - equal to 66%, if realized, would play a major role in boosting Indonesian tourism which has been limited in its ability to compete with other destinations by having at its disposal one of the smallest promotional budgets in the region.

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