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Indonesian Travel Too Expensive for Indonesians

Travel Agents Complain that Domestic Tour Packages Being Cancelled Due to High Air Fares

The Riau branch of the Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agents (ASITA) is complaining that many domestic tourists are cancelling tour packages because of the high cost of domestic airline tickets.

Quoted by Nusa Bali, the chairman of ASITA-Riau, Dede Firmansyah, commenting on the large number of cancelled trips on Sunday, June 2, 2019, “this has had a direct impact on travel agent and tourism in general in Riau.” He explained that members of ASITA have been forced to cancel booked tours, primarily to Java, due to the high cost of domestic air fares.

Despite efforts by the Government to compel airlines to reduce their airfare, Dede said that starting from January 2018 until the present time, the trend of domestic air tickets from Pekanbaru to a number of cities in Indonesia have shown no sign of any lowering of prices.

On the contrary, Dede complained that as the Idul Fitri Holidays approach, the tendency has been to increase air fares by Rp. 2-3 million for economy class. It is not surprising, he commented, that many holiday travelers are opting to travel by land or sea transport.

The downturn in airline ticket sales is, according to the ASITA-Riau Chairman, impacting various elements of the tourism industry.

“As travel agents, we are eager to create package tours to various parts of Indonesia in keeping with the Ministry of Tourism’s desire to promote domestic travel, but the current conditions do not support that desire,” said Dede.

Some travel agent customers confronted with higher domestic air fares have changed their holiday destination to points abroad in Singapore and Malaysia because these air fares are much lower. Dede complained that as domestic air fares increased across Indonesia, baggage rates have also increased.

Dede said he supports the President’s initiative to open Indonesia airspace to more low cost carriers as a means of making Indonesian air fares more competitive.

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