THE Indonesian Ministry of Tourism has pledged to spend 200 billion rupiahs (US$14.8 million) to develop and promote cross-border tourism. The tourism boost strategy will be officially launched in 2018 and will include more than 200 cross-border events in 29 areas.
“In Indonesia, cross-border traffic is still small, at 20 percent of total arrivals, of which, 90 percent are to Riau Islands,” Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s tourism minister, said at the launch of the campaign in Jakarta.
The 20 percent to which Arief was referring is the equivalent of 3.2 million visitors to the region, primarily to Batam and Bintan. In comparison to neighboring countries, this is a weak number, as Malaysia and Singapore gain 65 and 63 percent cross-border traffic respectively, according to Arief.
The government aims to attract 3.6 million cross-border arrivals next year, with sights set close to home for the time being. Neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Timor Leste, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Australia and Papua New Guinea have all been identified as potential investment partners.
However, the difficulty comes in lack of infrastructure, facilities and less purchasing power compared with surrounding cross-border areas. But these are issues Arief has identified and is determined to overcome by pledging money and commitment.
During the event, Arief suggested three improvements to tackle the problems keeping Indonesia from achieving high levels of cross-border tourism. He said the government needs to make products affordable; overcome lack of accommodation by introducing glamorous camping facilities; and introduce portable base transceiver stations around the region to combat lack of Internet connection.
Arief also spoke about the need to create Instagrammable locations to entice the millennial generation who are finding themselves with more disposable income to spend on travel.
“I encourage the regencies and districts to create digital destinations, Instagrammable destinations,” he said.
To further support the digitization steps many regions need to take in order to see more tourism, Arief promised another 100 billion rupiahs ($7.4 million) on top of the 200 billion rupiahs to help achieve this.