Indonesia’s tourism industry is welcoming travellers from a wider range of destinations and across a broader spectrum of segments. Panayiotis Markides reports.
A sought out destination the world over, Indonesia has never been one for complacency in attracting new travellers to the destination. Minister of Tourism for Indonesia, Arief Yahya has commented that the sector is ‘vital’ for Indonesia’s economic and national development. To this end the country has implemented a visa-free policy for 90 countries, including nine MENA countries.
Explaining the Indonesian government’s latest steps to bring in new tourists, director of communications, The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas – Nusa Dua, Bali, Adhiyanto Wongso informed TTG: “Indonesia waived the visa fees to draw in more overseas tourists and as many visitors as possible to Indonesia in general.” Wongso noted that such measures should prove beneficial for the tourism haven that is Bali, which he revealed closed 2015 with tourism arrival on a strong note.
The Indonesian Tourism Board, having put in extensive groundwork to develop the country’s tourism appeal is now harvesting the fruits of its labour, as corporate communications and social media manager, Tauzia Hotel Management, Yosua Tanuwiria told TTG: “More players, from both local and international are putting up more lodgings (especially in numerous big cities) – this has impacted local tourism and definitely driven travellers to try the destinations.”
As Indonesia’s travel and tourism industry continues to develop, the destination’s stakeholders are also recognising the important role that technology has to play as part of a tourist’s visit.
CEO, AIM Hospitality, Jimmy Gunawan explained the changing consumer environment to TTG: “People are more technology savvy, more health conscious, and demand more quality experiences that are not hurting their budget that much.”
Meanwhile, general manager, Grand Nikko Bali, Jean-Charles Le Coz provided an update on how the evolution of technology has impacted the hotel’s business: “In response to a growing number of tech-savvy travel planners, there is also a growing demand for last-minute hotel and flight booking.”
As technology enables travellers to book with more ease, their new demands must be met by hoteliers. General manager, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, George Orsini revealed the trends in guest demands: “Groups and event planners are looking more and more for personalised service, whereby an effortless experience is of primary importance.”
However, it is not just the ubiquity of technology that has been progressing Indonesia’s tourism sector, so has the increased links with the MENA region, according to director of sales, Four Seasons Resorts Bali, Lami Tjandi who commented that feeder markets also have a tendency to change.
“Since the opening of direct flights between Bali and the Middle East by Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, we have seen significant growth from these markets. Year on year arrivals from the Middle East to Bali alone has risen 20 per cent, and our resorts in Jimbaran Bay and Sayan have experienced similar growth from group and leisure travellers.”
However, despite appearances, Indonesia has had its fair share of hurdles to overcome, as general manager, Novotel Lombok Resort & Villas, Charles Choi relayed to TTG. The island, which neighbours Bali, witnessed the recent withdrawal of flights between it and Australia. “For Novotel Lombok, located close to the airport, the drop was significant (43.8 per cent down compared to the previous year).”
He added that there is a silver lining in that there are markets showing good growth though, such as Germany, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK. “In 2016, domestic travellers are expected to lead the Lombok hotel market continuing its steady growth witnessed from the second half of 2015.”
Stakeholders in Indonesia’s travel segment were also keen to share with TTG what sectors they are attracting in order to achieve their targets.
To this end, Wongso informed TTG that the property has recently launched MICE and incentive meeting packages for guests to take advantage of its copious facilities.
“We have recently introduced The Grand Ballroom programme where clients can set a 360-degree projection of anything they want, whether it is a sunrise scene or dinner with view of the sea.”
Also attracting the MICE segment is Crown Plaza Semarang. The property’s area director of sales and marketing – city hotels, Lidwina Tyastuty told TTG that the hotel provides one of the largest pillarless ballrooms in the city to host large-scaled events, as well as weddings.
Meanwhile, Orsini shared with TTG why Bali is in demand for not just the leisure sector, but also MICE. “[It] is a destination with international MICE standards and with excellent flight connections to key cities in South East Asia and beyond, but what makes it unique as a destination is the culture and diversity.”
Despite Indonesia’s natural propensity to attract MICE visitors, Tjandi of Four Seasons Resorts Bali, commented that targeting one specific segment is not enough for its two properties [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay and Four Sea-sons Resort Bali at Sayan]: “We aim for a balance between honeymooners, family and groups depending on the time of year and seasonality for each market.”
A formidable destination with something to offer everyone, Indonesia is strengthening itself across a plethora of segments.