Prior to the recent reappointment of Jero Wacik as Minister of Culture and Tourism Minister by President Yudhoyono, a number of tourism leaders expressed their reservations over the Bali politician's suitability for the top tourism post.
A report in Bisnis.com quotes the Vice-Chairman of the Jakarta Chapter of the Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), Rudiana, saying: "if (he) is to be given a second term everyone, particularly those in the tourism industry, should have (already) witnessed his past extraordinary job performance. Can someone who resigned before his first term finished be considered as having a high commitment to the job?"
Rudiana was referring to Wacik's resignation as Minister of Culture and Tourism in late September in order to ensure a "certain" seat as a lawmaker against the then "still uncertain" second term in the Presidential cabinet. [See: Tourism Minister Wacik Resigns]
Rudiana had hoped President Yudhoyono would reconsider his plans to reappoint Wacik. Rudiana said Jero Wacik's behavior had shown that the job of minister was only seen as of political importance. The problems surrounding culture and tourism, were, in the view of the ASITA official, only of symbolic value to meet political ends; with little serious consideration to advance national tourism.
Accusing Minister Wacik of a lack of even-handedness in administering national tourism, Rudiana added: "The character and the programs of the past are wrong in having favored the development of Bali's tourism. Tourism objects in other parts of the archipelago have not received the serious handling and attention they deserve."
Meanwhile, other elements of the tourism industry point to the unfinished "homework" by Jero Wacik in his perceived failure to create a tourism promotion strategy and an integrated approach to tourism service involving other relevant ministries of the government.
"To facilitate this, something resembling the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board (BPPI) needs to be reformed and reinvigorated while, at the same time, repairing the financial bureaucracy to allow private an public sector membership in a body intended to increase a coordinated level of tourism promotion," explained Herry Setiawan, a Director of Aerojasa Perkasa and Garuda Indonesian Holidays.
Separately, the former Chairman of the BPPI, Wuryastuti Sunario, was quoted as considering Jero Wacik as less than capable of fostering cooperation with the private sector and the press. This is unfortunate, according to Sunario, as the tourism industry and the press are equal partners who must be fully engaged in executing national tourism programs.
Wuryastuti stated: "Cooperation with the private sector should not be equated with merely giving money in support of private sector initiatives. Don't treat the private sector as a sub-contractor, but create a genuine partnership instead."
A leader in Indonesia's communication sector, Aselina Endang Trihastui, judged that the Minister of Culture and Tourism has thus far failed to fully utilize a professional organization capable of assisting in creating an Indonesian tourism image.
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