Indonesia launches 2008 tourism campaign to howls of protest


(eTN) – Indonesia launched its new Visit Indonesia 2008 (VI 2008) tourism campaign to howls of protest when eagle-eyed readers of the campaign’s Website and in-flight TV advertisements spotted grammatical errors.

The campaign slogan, inaugurated by Indonesian Tourism Minister Jero Wacik last week, is also plastered on Indonesia’s flag carrier Garuda planes, Website and on its promotional TV ads.

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The country is embarking on the campaign to revive its flagging tourism industry which recorded a drop of 2.3 percent, or about four million foreign tourist arrivals, in 2006.

Critics have pointed out, the VI 2008 tourism tagline, “Celebrating 100 years of a nation’s awakening,” should instead read “national” or be preceded by a definite article. The tagline refers to the founding of “Boedi Detomo” or “Noble Endeavour” by medical students in the then Dutch-ruled Indonesia.

“We have now been made fully aware of the grammatical mistakes in the VI 2008 logo and it will be rectified immediately,” said Krishnamurti, the tourism ministry’s Website content administrator.

Despite being endowed with alluringly beautiful natural attractions, Indonesia’s tourism industry has taken a knock and is still struggling to get back on its feet.

Beyond the ad, Indonesia’s troubles keep piling up
Indonesia’s economy took a severe beating when it bore the full brunt of the devastating 2004 year-end tsunami attacks, including severe flooding and volcanic eruptions since then.

Also a major problem is the government’s apparent poor handling of the on-going bird flu health scare which undoubtedly will be on the mind of tourists visiting the country.

Due to numerous air crashes, some involves its national carrier Garuda, air travel, which is a necessity for residents of the country’s far-flung islands, has also become an issue. In addition, the European Union has banned Indonesian air carriers flying over the EU airspace.

A series of bombings by Islamic-based extremist group which operates under the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) organization in the Southeast Asian region has kept tourists further at bay. A Jakarta court has just opened the trial of Abu Dujana, who is being charged with plotting terrorist activities, including in possession of explosives. He is being blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings which resulted in the death of 202 people, mostly Australian tourists.