Indonesia will strive to promote destinations in the country other than overcrowded Bali and Jakarta to help achieve its target of 7.5 million foreign visitors this year, a Tourism Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.
Gusti Ngurah Putra said the government would promote the country as an ecological and cultural destination, as well as a MICE venue — an industry term referring to meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
In terms of MICE, Putra said Yogyakarta, Padang, Solo, Manado and Bangka-Belitung would be promoted as alternatives to Jakarta and Bali.
“For the two Asean Summits, which will be held in April and October, we will prepare Jakarta and Bali as the locations because the standard of facilities needed for heads of state are only available in those two areas,” Putra said. “However, there are approximately 600 international events that will be held all over Indonesia in 2011.”
He said the opening of more international airports this year, such as the Lombok airport in Mataram, would also help in reaching the 7.5 million goal — half a million more than last year’s target.
“We now have 17 international airports all over Indonesia,” he said. “It would really help the distribution of tourists as well as the development of tourism in several places that have cultural and natural attractions.”
The expectation was that several international entry points would lead to an increase in demand for tourism facilities such as hotels and restaurants.
But Putra added that the government was keen to ensure the ensuing tourism development was eco-friendly. A new destination management system, he said, would be employed by the ministry to this end.
“This means a complete development that involves many sectors, so that tourism development is not just about business but will not destroy the ecosystem and harm the society,” he said.
This system, he said, was successfully implemented in the last two years in West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, where the Komodo National Park is located.
“We built an access road to Komodo National Park from Labuhan Bajo with funding from the Switzerland government, making it easier for tourists to go there,” he said.
“Moving forward, we have a complete development plan for the tourism sector in Flores that will benefit both the society and tourists.”
This year, he added, Indonesian tourism development would be pro-growth, pro-job, pro-poor and pro-environment.