RIYADH — Indonesia is planning its biggest push for Middle East people arrivals. Through the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia in collaboration with Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh and Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah, Indonesia is gearing up to lure more international tourists, especially from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by undertaking a Indonesia sales mission to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
The event has been running from Nov. 16 in Riyadh, and will to continue in Dammam on Nov. 18 and in Jeddah on Nov. 20. These three cities were chosen for their positions as the three biggest cities in KSA where the number of people from these three cities who visits Indonesia can be boosted.
For Indonesia, undertaking Sales Mission to KSA is a strategic opportunity to reinforce Indonesia’s tourism position to promote the country as tourist destination as well as to attract investors related to tourism. For the said purpose the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia has been conducting tourism business meeting with around 100 buyers from Riyadh, and in few day will conduct the same event with around 75 buyers from Dammam and 150 buyers from Jeddah with the following tourism industries from Indonesia, namely: Sun Island Bali Group; Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel; Hotel Borobudur Jakarta; Samabe Bali Suites & Villas; Nira Travel; Accor Hotels Group; Fokus Indonesia Tours; Kemang Nusantara Travel; Marintur Indonesia; Intercontinental Bali Resort and Aston Marina Hotel.
The Kingdom is the largest contributor to tourist numbers from Middle East who comes to Indonesia. Based on the foreign visits realization data of 2014, the number of Saudi Arabian tourists, increased about 27% to 147.074 visits compared to the 2013s, 115.912 visits. The positive trend of the increasing Saudi tourists can also be seen in January-September 2015 period where Saudi tourists are numbered 129.297, an increase of 4.67% compared to the same period last year.
The Ministry of Tourism Indonesia anticipates growing the number of tourists visiting Indonesia, from 9.5 million last year in 2014, to 20 million visitors five years from now. To accelerate achievement of this ambitious goal, Indonesia recently waived visa requirements for 90 countries, including Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also, Indonesia recently issued a new Presidential Regulation No. 105 – 2015 to support maritime tourism. This new regulation does away with the process of Clearance Approval for Indonesia Territory (CAIT).
Another breakthrough by the Indonesian government to reach its goal is by no longer implementing full cabotage principles for sea tourists. With this withdrawal of cabotage principles, passengers may embark and disembark in 5 (five) ports in Indonesia, namely: Belawan – Medan (North Sumatera), Tanjung Priok – Jakarta, Tanjung Perak – Surabaya (East Java), Benoa – Bali, Soekarno–Hatta, and Makassar.
Indonesia’s position in international tourism is getting more established. In May 2015, it was announced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2015 that Indonesia has succeeded in rising 20 rungs to 50th place overall from its previous position at No. 70 from among 141 countries evaluated.
At the recent “World Halal Travel Summit & Exhibition” in Abu Dhabi, Lombok in the West Nusa Tenggara Province — lying next to the island of Bali — successfully outranked many other destinations across the globe. It won two awards simultaneously: the World’s Best Halal Tourism Destination and the World’s Best Halal Honeymoon Destination. Along with Lombok, Indonesia’s Sofyan Hotel Group was also successful in winning the World’s Best Family-friendly Hotel award.
Lombok with its natural green scenery, beautiful beaches, and moslem-friendly community will be very much loved by the Middle Easterners, especially the Saudis. The island is surrounded by thousands of mosques and offers products, which are Shariah-compliant. Visitors from the Middle East can feel at ease, and enjoy their stay in the island. Lombok will be a comfortable and memorable family vacation for them.