Islamic Lifestyle 

Three Indonesian travel bodies launch coordinated effort to woo more Mideast visitors

| 07 June, 2018
 Yosi Winosa

JAKARTA - Indonesia is stepping up efforts to attract more visitors from the Middle East with the coordinated launch of new tour packages curated by three key industry bodies.

The government hopes the new packages will increase the number of Middle East visitors this year by 12.43 percent to 250,000 from 222,362 last year, Hariyadi Budi Sukamdhani, chairman of the country’s national tourism campaign taskforce under the ministry of tourism told Salaam Gateway.

The packages are curated by the Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (Asita), My Halal Trip Indonesia, and Indonesia Halal Tourism Association (Perhimpunan Pariwisata Halal Indonesia), said Sukamdhani.

The tours leverage on Indonesia’s natural and outdoor offerings, such as lush greenery, rivers and beaches, most of which are not widely found in the Middle East, especially in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

There are currently 48 packages offering tours ranging from $200 to $1,450, said Sukamdhani.

The packages were designed following a focus group session in late May attended by the national tourism campaign taskforce, the three industry bodies and 30 tour agencies.

Sukamdhani, who is also CEO of listed hospitality company Hotel Sahid Jaya International, said that travelers from the Middle East, especially the Saudis, prefer pricier four- or five-star hotels, compared to tourists from Europe, for example.

Tourists from Saudi Arabia are the biggest spenders. At an average of $2,226.18 per visit that on average lasted 10.83 days, Saudi tourists spent the most in 2016, which is the most recently available data from Indonesia’s ministry of tourism.

In contrast, German tourists spent $1,540.48 for an average 15.11 days, the French $1,563.06 for an average 14.18 days and the Americans $1,582.50 for 11.45 days.

Middle East travelers accounted for only 1.58 percent of the 14 million international visitors to Indonesia last year. To woo more tourists from the region, the Indonesian government has increased its tourism marketing and installed tourism representatives in the Middle East responsible for overlooking activities such as industry trade fairs, sales missions, familiarization trips and festivals.

(Reporting by Yosi Winosa; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim emmy.alim@thomsonreuters.com)

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