100 Years of National Slumber?
The slogan "Celebrating 100 years of nation's awakening" dreamed up for Visit Indonesia Year 2008 was objected to by so many folk on the grounds of grammatical inaccuracy and lack of both relevance and meaning that bureaucrats at the Ministry of Tourism had several meetings and came up with something different.
It is now "Celebrating 100 years of national awakening" and Garuda Indonesia
are very happy about it.As the national flag carrier of Indonesia, Garuda Indonesia has always played a key role in developing both international and domestic tourism fpr the nation. The official Visit Indonesia Year logo will be displayed on our entire fleet during 2008. This is part of our on-going contribution to improving and transforming air travel and tourism in Indonesia.
The last Visit Indonesia Year, in 1991, was not particularly successful as it only encouraged a further 400,000 foreign tourists to come, although that was still a rise of 16% from the 2.1 million who visited the previous year.
This year's foreign tourist arrivals are expected to fall half a million short of the target of six million, so reaching next year's target of seven million, a 21.5% rise, is going to involve a lot of effort. The government could start by re-introducing the two month visa on arrival as it's obvious that the one month visa has reduced the number of backpacking folk with time on their hands who want to explore the byways off the beaten tracks.
Mind you, according to the Data Center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism quoted here
, Chinese tourists in the January-October 2007 period reached 145,000, an increase of 48.96% compared to the 97,902 in the same period last year and Australian tourists totalled 219,310, an increase of 43.26%.
Apparently the most significant rise was in tourists from Bahrain, an increase of 234.04% to 471.
Wow! Perhaps that explains why much of the budget for tourism promotion, US$13 million, will be spent on additional promotion for festivals
and in those countries which traditionally provide the most tourists for Indonesia, and (coincidentally?) are served by Garuda
, such as Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and China. And Bahrain.
Of course, that the EU has barred all Indonesian airlines from its airspace
pending satisfactory audits of management practices including aircrew requirements, safety and maintenance records, means that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture presumably feels that there is little point in promoting Indonesia in Europe.
However, European tourists will continue to come in spite of the blinkered practices of the bureaucrats and politicians here because, hey, Indonesia is a country of endless fascination, and there are still entrepreneurs with faith
in the country's potential to perhaps, one day, think outside the box.