France to lure more Indonesian tourists


France is expecting more Indonesian tourists as the tourism board and the private sector, including airlines and retailers, step up efforts to promote the European country.

Maison de la France, or the French Tourism Board, for example, recently launched a sales kit into the Southeast Asian market so that travel agents can better sell France.

“We expect travel agents can use this kit to give detailed information to prospective guests,” the board’s Southeast Asia director, Frederic Meyer, told The Jakarta Post recently.

Meyer was speaking during a tour, which also included Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, where professionals from France met with their Southeast Asian counterparts in order to better sell France.

The workshop with media was held Thursday, while the meeting with travel professionals was held Friday.

In another effort of the French to tap into the Indonesian market, Galeries Lafayette has just launched a map of Paris in Indonesian.

“I have just got the maps from the printers. This maps will be distributed by travel agents to guests who are leaving for France,” said marketing and promotion manager Asia Caroline de Maisonneuve.

Both Meyer and de Maisonneuve said it was quite difficult to track the number of Indonesians visiting France due to the presence of the Schengen visa scheme.

“But we know that there at least 13,000 to 14,000 visa requests per year, so there could be some 40,000 Indonesians visiting France,” Meyer said.

De Maisonneuve said it was also difficult to track the number of Indonesians visiting Galeries Lafayette stores because there was no specific records unless customers used credit cards or applied for tax deductions.

Gerda Lascombe, international sales manager of Printemps department store, estimated that Indonesians ranked 15th on the number of guests visiting the up-scale establishments.

“The Indonesian average spending is some 500 euros, but this is only from recorded transactions,” she said.

“We cannot track those paying in cash and not applying for tax deductions.”

The tour also brought representatives from Rail Europe 4A, a joint venture of French and Swiss national railways, and Air France KLM.

Air France does not have a direct route linking Paris with Jakarta, but there is a daily flight to and from Bangkok and Singapore. Another option is using sister company KLM serving Jakarta with Amsterdam via Kuala Lumpur.