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Jero Wacik: Don't Panic!

Interview with Indonesian Minister of Culture and Tourism on How to Deal with the World Financial Downturn.

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The March 4, 2009, edition of Bali Post carried a brief interview with Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, and his suggestions on how the tourism sector can best confront the current global financial crisis. That interview, freely translated, is presented below.

Bali Post: What is the impact of the world financial crisis on tourism?

Jero Wacik: The effects of the global financial crisis on tourism are not as bad as many suggest. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) predicts that worldwide tourism visits will increase between only 1-2% this year. I think the same situation will prevail in Indonesia, including Bali. At a minimum, results will mirror last year. Last year foreign tourists to Indonesia totaled 6.4 million with 1.964 million of that amount visiting Bali.

Bali Post: Aren't some expecting major drops?

Jero Wacik: International tourist visits will continue because travel has become a necessity for people living in developed countries, no matter how difficult the current economic situation. What may happen is the average level of daily spending (by tourists) will decline slightly.

Bali Post: Really?

Jero Wacik: Allow me to illustrate the point. There are many Chief Executive Officers or members of top management in multi-national companies who are suffering from stress due to the financial crisis. Nonetheless they still have sufficient money to cover holidays for their families that were planned far in advance. Maybe the CEO suffering a headache, but his wife and children aren't. They still go on holiday.

Bali Post: What should be done by the tourism community in Bali ?

Jero Wacik: Tourism industry members, especially in Bali, don't need to worry or panic. The quality of tourism products and service provided to tourists must be improved. The government is going to help by creating as many events as possible in Bali. Other than that, what's important is that we all remember to pray. Man can only try; God decides.

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