JAKARTA – Indonesia is expected to attract more Chinese tourists through active tourism promotion in China, such as the 12th China International Travel Mart (CITM) and the World Expo Shanghai China (WESC) 2010.
Chinese tourists are the fifth largest in Indonesia after Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Australia. Last year, as many as 356,000 Chinese tourists visited Indonesia out of total 6.5 million of foreign tourist.
However, a majority of Chinese tourists have selected Bali province as their main destination in Indonesia, as Bali is so famous compared with other parts of Indonesia.
This posts a challenge for the central government, especially for local ones to promote other regions of the country to attract Chinese tourists as these regions have many attractive destinations with various cultures, arts and landscape beauties.
In fact, Indonesia has a chance to attract more Chinese tourists as both countries have a characteristic proximity. “Chinese people like Chinese-friendly things, such as culinary and tradition,” Counsel of Social and Culture in the Indonesian Embassy for China Rosmalawati Chalid said on the sideline of the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai recently.
Chalid said that since an open economy policy adopted in 1978, China’s tourism has been growing rapidly. The fast economy growth promotes the increase of Chinese tourists.
In 1998, the number of Chinese tourists was only 5.32 million with six favorite countries as their tourism destination.
This year, the number could increase to 50 million to all over the world.
However, Chalid said that not much information could be obtained by the Chinese about Indonesia’s tourism. “80 percent of them know Indonesia’s tourism via the Internet whereas tourism information in the Internet is dominated by Bali,” she said.
Therefore, Indonesia needs to be more active in promoting tourism destination besides of Bali, Chalid said.
Promotion Director of the Tourism Ministry Esthy Reko Astuty also admitted that tourism promotion in China is not enough. “Most of them only know Bali. Now, we want to invite them to see other regions like Manado (of North Sulawesi province),” she said.
Chinese tourists’ favorite of beach tourism should be responded by introducing alternative destinations such as Wakatobi of Southeast Sulawesi province, Bunaken of North Sulawesi province and Raja Ampat of West Papua province.
Titien Maryatin Soekarya, an official of the Tourism Ministry, said that China is expected to be the largest tourist supplier in the world in near term. “At least there will be 100 million Chinese tourists going abroad in 2015 and Indonesia is ready to welcome them,” she said at the St. Ragis Hotel of Shanghai recently in a table-top that was a part of a series of programs made by the ministry in the 12th China International Travel Mart.
On the occasion, as many as 30 sellers from Indonesia made a direct transaction with more than 70 Chinese buyers.
In order to attract more foreign tourists, the Indonesian government has been improving security and providing comfort for foreign tourists. Supporting infrastructures such as transportation, especially direct international flight to Indonesia, has been improved and increased.