Friday, November 20, 2015


Jakarta, Nov 20, 2015 (Antara) - Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim population nation and also home to the followers of other religions, such as Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism.
       The country has a long history that dates back to the ancient kingdoms, which have left their monumental remnants, such as the Borobudur and Prambanan temples in Central Java.  
  Being multi-religion and multi-ethnic, Indonesia has several cultural attractions to offer to tourists, apart from its natural beauty.
       Bali is the country's most famous tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches and unique Hindu culture and arts.
       The country also has several other destinations to offer to tourists keen to undertake pilgrimage visits, either to the followers of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, or Confucianism, but most of the attractions are still not managed and promoted properly.    

  Therefore, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has stated that his ministry will improve the management of pilgrimage tourism attractions with the assistance of every stakeholder.

       "I will focus on the marketing, destinations, and human resources," Yahya said while speaking at a national workshop on pilgrimage tourism management organized in the cooperation with the Antara news agency, on Nov. 18, 2015.    
  Starting next year, the government will allocate Rp1 billion for the improvement of each pilgrimage destination, particularly to maintain hygiene in the public toilets in those areas.
       Tourism packaging, promotion, and attractions are among the areas that need to be improved for the effective management of pilgrimage tourism, he added.
         "I asked the country's choreographers (to help improve dances), their customs also needed improvement. We will ask every national television station to help with the promotion. I will also focus on sanitation, clean toilets," he noted.
        Concerning human resources, the government will also deploy 100 trainers in each destination to train local guides related personnel including on hospitality.
         The minister urged local inhabitants to help preserve pilgrimage sites existing in their regions because the sites will in turn help improve their welfare if they are well preserved, manage and promoted.
         Indonesia has comprehensive religion-based pilgrimage tourism packages recognized worldwide.
            Among the famous pilgrimage tourism are the shrines of Wali Songo (Nine Islamic Saints) located on Java Island.
            At least 12.2 million domestic tourists visited the Wali Songo shrines in 2014 and each tourist spent around Rp300 thousand per visit, or the total spending was about Rp3.6 trillion a year.
            Some three thousand foreign tourists visited the Wali Songo shrines last year, with a total spending reaching US$450 thousand, or US$150 per day.
            The Tourism Ministry has set the target of attracting 18 million domestic tourists to visit the Wali Songo shrines by 2019, or 15 percent of the country's total tourist target by 2019.
            The pilgrimage domestic tourists are expected to spend an average of Rp400 thousand per visit per person or in total Rp7.2 trillion per year.
          For foreign tourists visiting the Wali Songo objects, the government has set a target of 10 thousand a year with a total spending at US$1.5 million or an average US$150 per day.
       The Indonesian government has also been taking steps to make the country a global halal tourism destination, particularly to attract foreign Muslim tourists. Halal means permissible or allowed in Islam.
           Indonesia won three awards as the world halal tourism destination at the World Travel Awards 2015 in Abu Dhabi, the Untied Arab Emirates, on October 20, 2015, in conjunction with the World Halal Travel Summit 2015.
       Indonesia competed with Malaysia and Turkey to win the halal tourist destination award.
        "This victory is for all of us, and in the future, we should be more focused on developing Indonesia as a global halal tourist destination," Minister Arief Yahya noted.
       Indonesia successfully won the award for the Best Halal Tourist Destination and the Best Halal Honeymoon Destination for Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara province as well as the Best Family-Friendly Hotel for Sofyan Hotel.
       The tourism ministry has been promoting Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, West Sumatra, Riau, Lampung, Bantaeng, Bandung,  Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, Bali, Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, and Makasar in South Sulawesi, as main Muslim friendly destinations.
        The promotion of halal tourism  is expected to help the nation achieve its target of attracting 20 million tourists by 2019.
        The tourism minister recently held a meeting with the leadership of the Indonesian Journalist Association (PWI) and urged the PWI to support the government¿s tourism programs.
        PWI Chairman Margiono said the PWI and tourism ministry are planning to implement some programs to increase awareness among journalists and editors of tourism publications.
        He said the media will support the government's target to attract 20 million foreign tourists.
        "Promoting our country's beautiful panoramas to the world is also our moral task and responsibility," Margiono stated.
        In the meantime, the Indonesian government launched tourism promotion activities in three cities of Saudi Arabia to attract Saudis to visit the country.
       The events to promote tourism were organized by the tourism ministry and the Indonesian embassy in Riyadh, Ahrul Tsani Fathurrahman, according to the head of the Information, Social and Cultural Department of the Indonesian Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
        The promotion activities were organized in Riyadh on November 16 and will be held in the Dammam metropolitan city on November 18 and in Jidda on November 20, 2015.
        In 2014, a total of 147,074 Saudi tourists visited Indonesia, constituting 60 percent of the Middle Eastern tourists visiting the country.
        The promotion events provide Indonesian tourism operators the opportunity to meet Saudi travel businessmen.
         "The tourism ministry and the embassy in Riyadh facilitate them in preparing attractive and competitive tourism package contracts to be offered to potential tourists," Tsani remarked.
         During the promotion event in Riyadh, some 100 Saudi travel operators established direct contacts with their Indonesian counterparts.
         Among the Indonesian travel operators that took part in the promotion event were the Sun Island Bali Group, Hotel Discovery Kartika Plaza, Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, Samabe Bali Suites & Villas, Accor Hotels Group, Fokus Indonesia Tours, Kemtravel, Marintur Indonesia, Nira Travel, and Intercontinental Bali Resort, as well as an official from the West Nusa Tenggara tourism office.
        According to data from the World Economic Forum of the United Nations International Tourist Organization, Saudi Arabia ranked first in the 139-country index in tourist spending for 2014.
         Data of the Tourist Information and Research Center revealed that some four million Saudi tourists undertook overseas trips and spent US$6.4 billion last year.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 20-11-2015 14:47:00

No comments:

Post a Comment