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Workin' for the Yankee Dollar

Faced with a Weakening Rupiah, Garuda Sets its Sights on Dollar Spending Foreign Travelers

(9/15/2013) Because of the declining value of the Indonesian Rupiah against the U.S. Dollar, Garuda Indonesia is stepping up efforts to attract foreign tourists and buffer the airline’s income stream.

Bisnis.com reports Erick Meijer, the Director of Sales and Marketing for Garuda, admits that the declining value of the Rupiah and higher fuel costs are weighing heavily on the airline’s operational costs.

“The effect is on the ticket price. It’s not possible to raise all prices -  that would just reduce the number of people flying. The solution is to seek more passengers from abroad. Our hope is that the dollar can be stabilized again,” said Meijer when interviewed at the Garuda Indonesian Travel Fair in Jakarta on September 13, 2013.

The Airline’s reasoning is that the higher value of the U.S. dollar against the Indonesian Rupiah will represent a savings to foreign visitors. Also, in order to attract more foreign visitors, Garuda Indonesia is also actively participating in overseas travel fairs in order to promote various Indonesian destinations.

“In early November we will join World Travel Market in London. In early January we will participate in a travel fair in Holland to promote Indonesia and seek more foreign tourists,” Meijer said.

At the same time the Indonesian national carrier is adding new routes and additional frequencies on established routes considered strategically important. This year Garuda will add 17 new domestic routes and 5 international routes including Medan-Penang, Surabaya-Singapore, Jakarta-Perth, Jakarta-Osaka, and Denpasar- Brisbane.

Next year Garuda is considering flying Jakarta-Manila as well as new services to Vietnam. “Countries in ASEAN have great potential. This is also the case with European destinations,” Meijer explained.

There also plans from Garuda for direct flights and additional capacity to China and the Middle East.