Indonesia, Malaysia join hands to boost tourism industry


JAKARTA – Indonesia and Malaysia agreed to cooperate in tourism industry to lessen the deepening impact of the global economic downturn on the sector, ministers of the countries said here Thursday.

The global financial crisis is predicted to slump tourist spending and flatten the number of foreign visitors to Indonesia this year, the country’s Tourism Minister Jero Wacik has said.

Wacik on Thursday met with visiting Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Azalina Othman.

The two countries planned to jointly take steps to boost tourism industry, including cutting some cost of operation by conducting joint promotions and encouraging tourists in their countries to visit each other as well as providing incentive of prices discount for tourists from ASEAN, the two ministers said.

“Basically, we agreed to hold a joint promotion. During the global recession we can cooperate in attracting international tourists and encourage visitors at our countries to visit each other’s,” said Wacik at his office here.

Azalina said Malaysia welcomes the initiative of Wacik to provide lower prices for ASEAN tourists.

Tourism accounts for about 3 percent of Indonesia’s gross domestic product. However some regions, such as the country’s tourist industry center Bali, are heavily rely on the sector for jobs and economic growth.

According to Indonesia’s tourism ministry, revenue from tourism forecast to decline to 6.5 billion U.S. dollars this year, from an estimated 7.57 billion U.S. dollars last year.

Foreign tourist arrivals are predicted to be at the range of 6.25 million to 6.5 million people in 2009, according to the ministry. Tourist arrivals reached 6.4 million in 2008.