Requests from the Department of Culture and Tourism for a supplemental budget of Rp. 135 billion (approximately US$14.67 million) to promote Indonesian tourism remain unanswered by Jakarta, despite calls by Vice President Jusuf Kalla for higher tourism targets and more international promotion.
Sapta Nirwandar, Secretary-General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, was recently quoted by the Indonesian-language Bali Post as saying that logic dictates that if the Government truly wants 6 million foreign visitors to Indonesia in 2007, current levels of promotional funding are inadequate. Nirwandar defended his Department's request for additional promotional funding as reasonable, saying that expectations for more visitors without a corresponding increase in promotion was "nonsense."
The Formula for Tourism Promotional Spending
Nirwandar used the occasion to point to a World Tourism Organization (WTO) calculation that a minimum spend of US$10 per each foreign tourist was needed for proper promotion. He continued: "The neighboring country of Malaysia which targets 6 million tourism have a promotional budget of US$60 million. But, how is it in Indonesia? Clearly, (spending is) not ideal for the current target. While we realize funding is limited, but if promotion is properly carried out the resulting foreign exchange will be very significant."
Warning that foreign tourism arrivals need to increase dramatically to meet higher targets of 6 million foreign visitors to Indonesia for 2007, Nirwandar revealed that the entire budget for the Department of Culture and Tourism for 2007 stands at Rp. 900 billion (approximately US$97.8 million), an increase from the Rp. 751 billion (approximately US$81.63 million) allocated in 2006. "This amount is far from what was hoped for and (yet) we face demands to open overseas travel promotional offices, to undertake international advertising campaigns and to participate in international travel marts Ė all requiring much more funding," Nirwandar warned.
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