Republic of Indonesia
Indonesia, the largest state-archipelago in the world, abounding in natural beauty, rich in culture, art and culinary tradition, has been gaining popularity as a tourist destination. Even the unfavorable conditions in international economy, mainly in Europe, has not diminished the interests of tourists worldwide to come and enjoy the holiday in this vast country in the South East Asia with over 17 500 islands, more than 240 million inhabitants belonging to over one hundred ethnic and linguistic groups and six official religions whose ancestors have lived in Indonesia for tens of thousands years.
In 2013 Indonesia expects to receive around 9 million foreign tourists. It is a significant increase of 12.5% compared to 8.05 million foreign visitors registered in 2012, as stated in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The number of domestic travels has increased reaching the number of 250 million.
The confidence of Indonesian tourism professionals is based on the fact that this year the summit of Asian-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) is to be held on the island of Bali preceded by meetings of ministers of APEC from more than 20 countries. Besides, a meeting of ministers of the World Trade Organization will take place in Indonesia this year, while Bali and Jakarta will host The World Beauty Contest. That is why the airports on Bali and in Jakarta, as well as in other destinations, are being modernized and enlarged and a large number of roads are being constructed.
This is an example of the information that could be learned at the College of Tourism in Belgrade, on 23rd April 2013, during an event entitled “The Day of Indonesia”.
After presenting the tourism potential of Indonesia, the Ambassador of Indonesia, Samuel Johnson, expressed his hope that scholarship programs for students in both countries would enable insight into each others` culture and tradition. He stated that this couldgreatly enhance intercultural understanding and international relations of these two geographically distant but traditionally friendly countries.
Before this, the Head of The College of Tourism, Dr Milan Skakun emphasized that through the program “Ambassadors As Our Guests” the students of this college had had the opportunity to get to know the culture, tradition, tourism industry and economic potential of around 600 million people whose representatives had taken part in this event so far.
In Indonesia, the last year`s number of 8.04 million foreign visitors meant an increase of over 5% compared to 2011, which accounts for the satisfaction of Indonesian government, as an average global increase in tourism was between 3% and 4%. It is estimated that in 2012 Indonesia foreign currency inflow exceeded 9 million dollars which is a rise of around 6% compared to the previous year.
Today tourism in Indonesia holds the fifth place in foreign currency income, after the export of oil and gas, coal, palm oil and rubber products. Tourism has a better rank than the production and export of clothes, electric devices and textile and paper products. There was also an estimated rise of 3.81 % in the number of domestic tourists in 2012 compared to the previous year. If it is taken that an average tourist spends about 700 000 rupees (around 70 dollars) during one trip, the sum of domestic tourist expenditure amounts to 171.5 billion rupees (17.67 million dollars), which is an increase of 9.31% compared to 2011.
In 2013 Indonesian authorities will focus on the development of conference tourism (MICE), cruises and yachting, health and wellness tourism, developments in cuisine and creating facilities for sports such as golf, cycling, marathon races and diving, as stated by the officials in Jakarta. It is estimated that during the last year health tourism in Indonesia brought around 2 million foreign visitors. The rise of 30% of the cruise ships and its passengers was recorded on a yearly basis. It is expected in MTCE that 308 luxury vessels with 147.134 passengers arrive in Indonesia this year.
"As a country with a vast archipelago, we are blessed with an abundance of breath-taking destinations which possess unique attractions and culture which satisfies the cruising market. We are a significant market for all kinds of ships, from large cruisers to expedition boats, as we have a lot to offer". States Riziki Handajani, director for MICE in MTCE. Handajani states that further expansion of cruise tourism is about to happen, as during the prestigious Cruise Shipping Miami 2013 exhibition lots of new “players” showed interest for visiting this country in the next years. Cruise Shipping Miami has been the largest world conference and trade fair of buyers and sellers on the global cruise industry. It is expected that 320 cruise ship with 200 000 passengers will reach Indonesian shores in 2014. Benoa, a port on Bali, as well as other harbours have been enlarged so as to be ready to receive a larger number of cruise ships. Paralelly, some Indonesian air companies have bought fleets of new planes which fly to distant destinations. Less known domestic destinations have been linked via air, and connections with China and other countries of Southeast Asia and Australia have been established. National air company Garuda plans to establish direct flights from Jakarta to London.
It is expected that Indonesian middle class which is booming, will travel increasingly by air. It will create greater demand for attractive locations, transportation, hotels and restaurants in the archipelago.
n the meantime, investment into hotel construction in Indonesia has reached their peak. Hotels are being built throughout the country, in large cities as well as in remote tourist destinations. Foreign investment in hotels and restaurants has reached record 729.7 million dollars, along with 86.1 million dollars of domestic investment.
In Indonesia, a new tourist campaign called “Wonderful Indonesia. The World`s Heart of Wonders” has been launched. Symbolically this is an invitation for visitors to experience true beauty of Indonesia which comes from the hearts of its inhabitants. Namely, it is believed that the major attractiveness of this multiethnic country comes from its people who are always friendly, hospitable and smiling.
As rich as its natural beauty and as diverse as its peoples and cultures, Indonesia is blessed with lots of different specialties, from the sweet taste of Jogjakarta cuisine in central Java to strong taste of Padang food from the surroundings of the capital of west Sumatra. The most delicious Indonesian dishes are Padang Rendang (caramelized beef curry), Sate Madura (grilled meat with sauce), NasiTumpeng (the cone shaped yellow rice surrounded by assorted Indonesian dishes), Soto Lamongan (traditional Indonesian soup with meat and vegetables), Nagasari (banana cake) and Kue Lumpur (a sweet similar to pancakes with fruit).
Trying to encourage the arrival of larger numbers of foreign guests, Indonesian authorities encourage the coming of Muslims from other countries. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world, and the authorities in Jakarta consider it a great potential for arrivals of tourists belonging to this religion.
Providing the tourists with the surroundings which complies with Muslim tradition, Indonesian government has started a cooperation with Muslim theologians so that they can turn the country into the center of “Sharia tourism”. “In fact, “Sharia tourism” meansleasure in compliance with religious values”explainesFirmansjahRahmin, the head of MTCE.