The Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia reports that Indonesia's Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has ordered the reopening of 12 overseas tourism promotion offices in support of his call for 7 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2008.
"In a limited coordinating meeting involving various agencies connected with tourism, the target for foreign tourists is now 7 million," the Vice-President told Bisnis Indonesia.
Admitting that the 7 million target is still far below the performance of competing destinations in the region, Kalla said that intermediate targets must be kept realistic, given the current state of the national tourism industry. "Each year we will target to add at least one million more tourist arrivals, so that by the end of 2007 we will achieve six million and by the end of 2008 seven million visitors," he added.
For such targets to be realized Kalla said that there were many other related activities that must be undertaken by the Government. In this context, the Vice President ordered Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, and the Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, to urgently recalculate the national tourism promotional budget.
Kalla also promised that the Government would implement the necessary steps to improve security and national disaster preparedness.
Two Week's Deadline
The Vice-President has called for a revamped promotional budget to be in hand within two weeks and for the relevant government agencies to urgently sit down and discuss national aviation policy as it impacts on tourism policy. At the same time, he requested the Minister of Trade to explore joint promotion opportunities with the tourism industry.
12 Tourism Promotion Offices to be Reopened
The Vice-President promised that within the year 12 overseas promotion offices for tourism would be reopened in major overseas markets in order to champion the branding "Visit Beautiful Bali Indonesia," recently declared by his office.
Hotel & Restaurant Association Comments
Reacting to the Vice-President's plan, the Chairman of the Indonesian Restaurant and Hotel Association (PHRI), Yanti Sukamdani, welcomed the higher targets while cautioning that the Government must create work synergies with the private sector in order to succeed.
Sukamdani underlined that air access by airlines other than Garuda Indonesia were essential to achieving the declared targets. She also called for a well-developed master plan, work program and promotional scenario involving the private sector to be put in place if the ambitious target are to be realized.
The PHRI Chief also expressed doubts as to whether the Vice-President's branding of "Visit Beautiful Bali Indonesia" will be enthusiastically embraced by other provincial governments across Indonesia.
In a related statement, Feisol Hasyim, the Chairman of the Association of Marine Tourism Operators (Gahawisri), called on the Government to set aside at least 1.5% of the foreign exchange produced by tourism for promotional activities.
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