Indonesia’s charm and allure never fail to attract business and leisure guests from around the world. Tatiana Tsierkezou writes.
Indonesia is home to the best of both worlds – from buzzing cityscapes that are full of life, such as the capital city of Jakarta, to ultimate relaxation in the most tranquil and stunning surroundings that are almost dreamlike, such as Bali and Puncak. This is why this Southeast Asian nation is on almost every explorer’s bucket list, and is an increasingly popular choice among travellers the world over.
Speaking to TTG exclusively about the nation’s popularity among global markets, was director of international promotion marketing – Europe and Middle East, Ministry of Tourism Indonesia, Nia Niscaya: “40 per cent of our visitors are from Southeast Asia, 30 per cent are from Asia Pacific and 30 per cent come from Europe and the Middle East. The good thing about Middle Eastern and European visitors is that their length of stay is longer than other markets, and therefore the revenue is bigger.”
Niscaya explained that in recent years the Middle East has brought forth positive, double-digit growth.
“Last year we saw a 16.5 per cent growth on the previous year, and we welcomed 240,000 visitors from the region. 80 per cent hailed from Saudi Arabia, and for the Saudi market itself, we saw a 15 per cent growth,” she told TTG. “Middle Eastern travellers love nature, they love the beach and they love the mountains. The best time for them to travel is during the summer time – June, July and August.”
Thrilled with the ever-increasing number of Middle Eastern travellers, executive assistant manager sales and marketing, Hard Rock Hotel Bali, Rohaizad Puteh told TTG: “This market is very good for us, as we get tourists from various countries and longer stays. We provide supporting facilities for the MENA market such as a Muslim chef, family facilities such as a kids’ club, family rooms and a waterpark.”
With regards to the European market, Indonesia’s top source markets include the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and surprisingly, Russia.
“Compared to last year, the Russian market has grown by 150 per cent this year, even though we have no direct flight,” Niscaya remarked.
With all of these positive figures, it comes as no surprise that Indonesia holds tourism close to its heart and regards it as a fundamental component of the country’s economy.
Director of marketing communications. Fairmont Jakarta, Felicia Setiawan informed TTG that by 2019, the Indonesian Government aims to gather eight per cent of its GDP from tourism, with a goal of enticing an incredible 20 million tourists.
This year, the country is targeting 15 million international arrivals – a 25 per cent jump on 2016, and has three key priority plans, as stated by the Minister of Tourism: Go Digital, Air Connectivity and the construction of 20,000 Homestays in Tourism Villages across the archipelago.
Multifaceted in nature, vibrant Indonesia promises something for everyone, regardless of religion, age or gender. But in order to satisfy the needs and wants of global visitors, the country continuously introduces developments and changes to refine its already impressive product.
One such development encompasses the country’s transportation system. Home to nine million inhabitants, four million of whom commute to the city each day, Jakarta has been forced to improve its transport system.
A Mass Rapid Transit and Light Rail Transit system is currently under construction in order to relieve traffic congestion, which in turn will benefit travellers to the city. Both of these game-changing developments are scheduled to inaugurate in the near future.
“Development of the transportation system, while mainly focused in Jakarta, is also taking place in other areas of Indonesia,” shared Setiawan of Fairmont Jakarta, who added: “One of the most highlighted developments is the Trans Papua road in West Papua. The area has been known for having very challenging access for people to commute due to its geographical characteristic. The Trans Papua road, spanning 4,000km, is expected to be completed in 2018.”
And while transportation is rapidly evolving to streamline the Indonesia experience for locals and tourists alike, picturesque destinations such as Bali are working on enhancing their hotel portfolio.
General manager, Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali, Niall Cowan shared with TTG: “Tourism is constantly evolving in Bali, new hotels and resorts continue to open on the island with a continued growth in tourist arrivals. Infrastructure has improved significantly and increased foreign investment, allowing unprecedented growth in the hospitality, food and beverage and retail sectors.”
But what is it that makes Bali so enticing to travellers and investors from all four corners of the globe? Answering this question was general manager, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta, Alex Pichel: “Indonesia’s economic growth has been the envy of the West. Big businesses from technology to retail are looking to Jakarta specifically to open their new emerging market.
“At the same time, the archipelago also offers unparalleled affordable beauty. We have beaches that are more pristine than the Maldives. We have the most bio-diverse dive sites in the world. So, visitors have both business and leisure reasons to visit Indonesia,” he added.
And with the sudden and unfaltering rise of experiential travel comes the need for adventurous activities, which Indonesia offers in abundance, according to director of business development, Finns Bali, Kelly Sturgeon: “We are lucky. In Bali there are great opportunities for activities such as hiking to the top of a volcano, cycling amongst rice fields and villages, and white water rafting with amazing scenery. Plus, there are great family activities such as water parks and trampoline centres.”
Echoing Sturgeon’s sentiment, Cowan of Fairmont Sanu Beach Bali concluded: “Indonesia, and especially Bali, offer an incredible variety of options in a remarkable unique destination. There is no other place like Bali. There is a special vibe, an essence, something authentic that is difficult to describe, which has touched and inspired visitors from all over the world for decades. It has something to do with the Balinese themselves and their warm and welcoming character.”