BANGKOK (eTN)- The launch on November 7 of four weekly frequencies between Bangkok and Surabaya by Indonesia AirAsia makes the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)bullish on Indonesia’s potential as an outbound market to the Kingdom. “We currently receive some 200,000 travelers from Indonesia each year with an average growth rate of 10% per year. We are now targeting 300,000 visitors thanks to the multiplication of flights between Thailand and Indonesia,” explained Nithee Seeprae, Director of TAT Jakarta during a reception for the new Bangkok-Surabaya flight.
Perspectives look indeed so good that TAT decided to upgrade its representation in the country. “We used to cover Indonesia out of our Singapore office. We are now preparing the opening of a proper representation in Jakarta which will be fully operational by March or April 2011,” indicated Mr. Seeprae. TAT already launched a series of promotional activities including a travel fair in Surabaya held in conjunction with AirAsia. ” They are many products that should attract Indonesian travelers such as the new Madame Tussauds Museum or spas around Bangkok. We mostly emphasize Bangkok and Pattaya in new markets such as Surabaya, while we promote now Phuket and Chiang Mai in a more mature market such as Jakarta,” told Mr. Seeprae.
If TAT remains cautious on outbound tourism perspectives out of Bali -already linked to Jakarta by Thai Airways and AirAsia and soon to Phuket by AirAsia- Thailand’s tourism agency sees good potential for growth out of other large Indonesian cities. “Bandung or Medan are high on our wish list,” indicated TAT Director for Jakarta.
TAT wish will soon be granted. According to Audrey Progastama Petriny, Corporate Communication Manager for Indonesia, Indonesia AirAsia will soon launch a direct flight between Bangkok and Medan. “This connection has been seen as a priority by local business people in Medan,” she explained. Indonesia AirAsia task will be now to lure Thai travelers to also venture into Medan and Surabaya. “We expect at the beginning that 70% of our passengers will be from Indonesia. We will link up with tourism partners to promote both destinations. With their wealth of tourist attractions, historical sights and stunning landscapes, both Medan and Surabaya can turn into new holiday destinations for Thai and Westerners staying or traveling in Thailand,” told Mrs. Progastama Petriny.