During an elaborate conversation on efforts to promote tourism in Indonesia with ETTravelWorld, Ni Made Ayu Marthini, Deputy Minister for Marketing Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia said the country has seen tremendous growth in tourism this year and the tourism department is working to promote new destinations beyond Bali among Indian travellers. Excerpts from the interaction:
ETTravelWorld (ETTW): We heard that your recent tourism roadshow in India exceeded expectations. Can you tell us more about it?
Ni Made Ayu Marthini (NMM): Absolutely, we were thrilled with the response in Mumbai. We expected a maximum of 100 buyers, but to our surprise, 150 attendees joined us, representing a 150 per cent increase in capacity. It was a very busy and fruitful event, and we received excellent feedback from all the participants. A lot of travel agents from the city had direct interaction with me.
ETTW: It seems like 2023 has been a positive year for Indonesia’s tourism. Could you share some insights into the growth and the government’s role in promoting the country?
NMM: Certainly, let’s start with the numbers. In 2020, we welcomed around 270,000 Indian tourists. However, this year, from January to July alone, we’ve already had 345,000 visitors from India, marking a significant 120 per cent increase in just the first semester. This growth is indeed very encouraging and indicates a strong appetite among Indian travellers to explore Indonesia.
ETTW: While Bali remains a top choice for Indian tourists, it’s clear you’re looking to diversify. Can you tell us about the new destinations you’re promoting and why?
NMM: We want to showcase the incredible diversity of Indonesia. While Bali is fantastic, we have so much more to offer. That’s why we’re on a roadshow themed “Exploring New Destinations Beyond Bali.” We’re highlighting five exciting places. We believe these destinations offer a unique and diverse experience for Indian travellers.
Maninjau: Known for having the world’s largest volcanic crater lake, it offers beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and unique culinary experiences. Direct flights from Chennai make it easily accessible.
Borobudur: Home to the world’s largest Buddhist temple, it’s a cultural hub in Java, perfect for those interested in history and art.
Lombok: An island close to Bali, it offers similar natural beauty and cultural richness, with the added attraction of the MotoGP circuit.
Komodo Island: Famous for Komodo dragons, it’s an ideal destination for island-hopping and diving.
Likupang: Located on the north tip of Sulawesi, it’s a serene destination perfect for those seeking tranquillity.
ETTW: How many days would you recommend for an ideal stay in Indonesia to explore these destinations?
NMM: Of course, I’d love for visitors to stay as long as possible, but I understand time constraints. If you have two weeks, that’s ideal. Spend five days in Bali, then three days each in Lombok, Borobudur, and Likupang. It’s a balanced itinerary that allows you to explore different facets of Indonesia.
ETTW: Destination weddings are gaining popularity. Are you working with Indian wedding planners, and what incentives do you offer for wedding tourism?
NMM: Yes, we collaborate with wedding planners, offering a wide range of options. Indonesia’s competitive prices make it an attractive wedding destination in itself. Our hospitality, warm culture, and diverse cuisine add a special touch to weddings. We’re very creative and can cater to unique preferences, ensuring memorable experiences for couples.
ETTW: Connectivity plays a crucial role in tourism. Have there been any recent developments in air connectivity between India and Indonesia?
NMM: Definitely. Direct flights are a game-changer. Indigo recently started direct flights from Mumbai to Jakarta. This flight is getting great response, and from what I have heard, it is running at 80 per cent filled capacity. Indonesian private airline Batik Air also flies from Chennai to Medan. We’re planning to connect seven more Indian cities to Indonesia soon. Another good news is that Vistara will soon offer flights from Mumbai to Bali, enhancing connectivity further.
ETTW: What are your targets for the Indian market, and how do you plan to achieve them?
NMM: Our goal is for Indonesia to be among the top 10 destinations for Indian travellers. We currently account for only 2 per cent of Indian outbound travellers. We aim to reach 3 per cent soon. We’re committed to showcasing the diverse beauty of Indonesia and ensuring Indian travellers have unforgettable experiences here. We believe Indonesia can become a favourite and frequent destination for Indian tourists.