Expanding on its already vastly diversified tourism offering, Indonesia is responding to current travel trends and working to further grow this increasingly integral industry. Emily Millett writes.
Often referred to as the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is home to 34 provinces and some 17,000 islands, spanning over 5,000km. As such, the destination boasts a rich and varied pool of cultures and landscapes, which help to diversify its tourism sector.
Based on a recent Passenger Exit Survey, 60 per cent of international tourists visit the destination to experience these diverse cultural offerings, as director of tourism marketing for Southern and Central Asia, Middle East and Africa, Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia, R. Sigit Witjaksono explained: “Indonesia has diversity of cultural attractions, complementing the country’s national motto – ‘Unity in Diversity’. Tourists can experience every kind of cultural attraction across the many different regions, tribes, languages and religions in the destination.”
For the rest of 2018, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism is set to focus on a new Hot Deals programme to attract tourists seeking affordable, value-for-money experiences in destinations such as Batam, Bintan, Jakarta and Bali.
“Indonesia has many destinations and each one has its own characteristics and specific market,” director of sales and marketing, Fairmont Jakarta, Rene Mayer told TTG. “Jakarta is still very much driven by the business market but also has its fair share of leisure, corporate, group and wedding tourism.”
According to Mayer, tourism is the new rising star of Indonesia’s economy, with the number of foreign and domestic tourists vising the country increasing year-on-year. In 2014, there were 9.4 million overseas visitors to Indonesia, and by 2017, that number had increased to over 14 million and continues to climb, with the number of domestic tourists also increasing.
“This is due to the country’s efforts in strengthening the ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ brand, as well as improving infrastructure,” commented Mayer. “To endorse the country as a tourism destination, the president has also officiated the 10 New Priority Destinations (also known as 10 New Balis).”
The ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ programme sets out to highlight new tourism destinations, in the hopes of opening up further opportunities for the hospitality industry to expand and grow.
Commenting on this programme, corporate public relations manager, Tauzia Hotels, Yani Sinulingga said: “This continued programme by the Ministry of Tourism is followed with development of infrastructure and public facilities, namely new roads, a new airport and new flight destinations, which will give big opportunities for each area to grow and offer more choices for travellers.
“Traditional and local elements have become main attractions, as well as the culinary specialties of each region. Indonesia offers a complete array of unique experiences, from culinary, culture, shopping and sports,” she added.
With the world waking up to the importance of sustainability and protecting the environment, the tourism industry too is placing increasing emphasis on reducing its footprint and contributing to improving the health of the planet.
In Indonesia, sustainable tourism has had a noticeable influence on tourism development, according to Sigit Witjaksono, who told TTG: “There are more and more tourism developments that are community-based and in line with sustainable tourism development, such as homestay programmes. Moreover, Indonesia has many conservation areas which attract growing numbers of international tourists.”
New properties joining Indonesia’s portfolio are placing increasing emphasis on sustainable activities, such as Bawah Reserve – which opened in January of this year. The Reserve is currently in the process of launching the Bawah Anambas Foundation to conserve the marine and terrestrial life around the Anambas region and to help improve the welfare of the local communities.
“The Anambas is a beautiful unexplored region of Indonesia with 250 islands, of which 26 are inhabited,” marketing manager, Bawah Reserve, Georgina Bullworthy told TTG. “Currently, Indonesia is trying to replicate the success of Bali in 10 other locations and has also set a target of welcoming 20 million foreign tourists by 2019. Luckily, the Anambas is not one of the 10 new spots, so we are hoping to reveal this beautiful part of the world to a small number of guests in a very sustainable way.”
Instead of looking to attract large crowds, the hotel is set to target a limited numbers of guests to help maintain the marine reserve, by giving back to the local area and community while enjoying a holiday.
Existing hotels, such as Matahari Beach Resort & Spa, are implementing new environmental initiatives to help further the cause, as the hotel’s general manager, Jany-Michel Fourré explained: “We are responsible for our environment by saving energy, water and using environmentally-friendly materials. The ingredients we use in our kitchen come from organic partner plantations and local farms. We only use LED lamps and we have our own Sewage Treatment Plan (the produced treated wastewater is used for watering our tropical garden). Garbage is separated into organic for composting and glass, metal and plastic materials, which is recycled.”
The role of F&B in responsible and sustainable tourism can also be seen at Viceroy Bali, where produce for the newly opened Apéritif restaurant is sourced from organic farms in Bali, as well as the property’s own greenhouse.
Commenting on this new addition to the hotel was director of sales and marketing and co-owner, Viceroy Bali, Amanda Syrowatka: “Apéritif restaurant will be a game changer to fine dining in Bali. The backbone of the cuisine is a respect for ingredients.”
The hotel is also opening a new spa centre, which is due to be completed by early 2019.
DRAWING THE EVENTS CROWD
According to Sigit Witjaksono, Indonesia is also focusing its efforts on further developing its burgeoning events tourism scene.
“This year, Indonesia will host a number of mega events,” he said. “First is the 18th Asian Games that will be held in August in Jakarta and Palembang. The second is the Annual Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in October in Bali.”
These events are set to have a knock-on effect to the local tourism scene, especially providers that are located within close proximity. Commenting on the hotel’s participation in the 18th Asian Games, Mayer of Fairmont Jakarta said: “The event will be held next to Fairmont Jakarta at the national sports stadium, Gelora Bung Karno, which makes us the preferred hotel partner for this special occasion. The event will bring a positive impact not only to the hotel, but also to the city, as Jakarta will be the centre of the region’s – or even world’s – attention during the games; and hotels in the city are expected to have high-occupancy.”
And it’s not just the mega events that are heating up the industry; smaller scale MICE events are also proving increasingly popular in both the traditional urban hubs, as well as more resort style locations.
According to director of events and promotions, The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas, Rainata Tjoa, the hotel is growing in popularity amongst incentive groups, as she explained: “Our extensive meetings facilities make it easy to incorporate training within a programme, and the dedicated conference centre has two large ballrooms seating 2,000 and 1,200 in theatre style respectively, and 15 good sized meeting rooms to support groups with their events.”
Mulia Resort & Villas also hosts largescale private events and weddings – another key area for the tourism industry in Indonesia, and one that industry insiders are working on improving, in a bid to claim a piece of the growing wedding tourism pie.
Impiana Private Villas Seminyak recently opened a new wedding and event destination at the hotel called Banyak Tree Garden, according to cluster marketing communications manager – Bali, Impiana Private Villas Seminyak and Impiana Private Villas Cemagi, Sankar Adityas Cahyo, who told TTG: “It’s a fabulous spot to have a social gathering, intimate wedding and other exclusive events.”
Hoping to tap into this growing market segment, Kayumanis Group is set to begin operations at a new hotel located inside Spazio Tower in Surabaya, East Java, this December, with plans in the pipeline to target local weddings and events tourism.
“Comprehensive function facilities will provide Surabaya’s local community with quality options to host weddings, meetings and other special events,” said corporate director of sales and marketing, Kayumanis Group, Prayudi Aditama. “There is a clear lead that weddings, meetings and other special events will be a potential source of business.”
Responding to the wedding and event trend, Grand Mirage Market has plans to expand its marketing campaigns in a bid to attract the growing Indian wedding market for the rest of 2018, as corporate marketing communications manager, Samabe Leisure Group, Annisa Rahmita explained: “Grand Mirage Market has become famous as an Indian wedding venue and has hosted more than 50 Indian weddings at the resort. Also, we are focusing on selling the newly opened Family Paradise as a haven for families, while the main building of Grand Mirage Resort can be enjoyed by honeymooners or couples who seek a relaxing getaway.”
Part of Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali, Family Paradise is specially designed for family vacation comfort and provides a choice of family rooms, including studio rooms and apartments. It also features a Kids’ Club and family activities.
As Indonesia’s tourism industry develops, initiatives are being put in place to ensure growth falls in line with a burgeoning demand for more sustainable options, as well as a rise in demand for events and weddings.