Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Tourism and Economic Creativity Ni Made Ayu Marthini has said that Pakistan and Indonesia have strong bilateral relations and cultural similarities, providing tremendous opportunities for both the countries to promote bilateral tourism, mutual trade and ensure investment opportunities in the hoteling sectors.
In an exclusive interview after the inauguration of the Bali Beyond Travel Fair (BBTF) in Bali, she said there were multiple common characteristics culturally and religiously between Pakistan and Indonesia that can help enhance people-to-people exchanges as both the countries have the majority of Muslim populations.
Regarding connectivity, the deputy minister said that direct air flights were essential to promote bilateral tourism. She said that both the nations were working on starting the flights soon, which ultimately enhances people-to-people relations. She said that tourists from Pakistan have multiple opportunities and plenty of destinations in Indonesia.
Ni Made Ayu Marthini says Lombok would be next destination for Pakistanis after Bali
Ni Made Ayu Marthini said that Indonesia provides convenient access to mosques and halal foods, which taste similar to Pakistan’s cuisine, an essential need for Muslims. “We are confident to promote our Moslem-friendly destinations, with highlight of our award-winning designated halal tourism destination, Lombok, which has beautiful sea sights and sceneries.
Located in one of five Super Priority Destinations, Lombok provides unique destinations and simplicity for Muslim tourists. Halal services’ excellence has led Lombok to achieve the first rank for the World’s Best Halal Tourism Destination, according to the Global Muslim Travel Index in 2019. Ni Made Ayu Marthini said that Lombok would be the next popular destination for Pakistani tourists because of its natural beauty after Bali.
Talking about investment opportunities in the tourism sector, she said that investment was a big part of the success of tourism. In Indonesia, “we have created nine special economic zones, including in Bali, to promote tourism investments, and inviting investors from all over the world as well as Pakistan.” She also hoped that more Pakistani investors would come and be part of innovation growth.
She maintained that the media was vital in promoting the tourism economy between the two countries. Informing the total number of tourists in a year, she said in 2022, Indonesia has a target of 4.7 million tourists, receiving more than 5.4 million. This year, Indonesia set a target to have 8.5 million international tourists. About beaches in Bali and Lombok, she said several beaches in Indonesia were categorized as the most beautiful in the world.
‘Senggigi Beach in Lombok, Kuta Beach in Bali, and Bunaken Beach in Manado are famous beaches in Indonesia’
Ni Made Ayu Marthini said Senggigi Beach in Lombok, Kuta Beach in Bali, and Bunaken Beach in Manado were famous beaches in Indonesia. About scope of tourism in Indonesia, she said that according to the National Medium Term Development Plan 2020-2024, the tourism sector has become one of the essential strategies for national economic transformation. “We primarily focus on developing 10 Tourism Priority Destinations by optimizing accessibility, attraction, and amenities (3A) in the prioritized areas.”
Explaining friendly tourism policies and facilities for international tourists, the deputy minister said that Indonesia believes key to tourism strategies were innovation, adaptation, and collaboration. For innovation, “we attempt to uplift potential destinations in Indonesia, particularly 10 Tourism Priority Destinations. Hence, tourists can have more diverse experiences beyond Bali, which has already become top of mind for popular destinations.”
In terms of adaptation, one of the ways is to ease the transaction with various digital payment methods, which benefits the tourists and the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to emerge the cashless methods that offer flexibility. Moreover, “Indonesia is enhancing collaboration with academicians, business entities, the local, national, and foreign governments, community, and media.”
Currently, Indonesia is promoting 10 Tourism Priority Destinations, namely Lake Toba in North Sumatera, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Likupang in North Sulawesi, Tanjung Kelayang in Bangka Belitung, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi, Morotai Island in North Maluku and Raja Ampat in West Papua. The first five destinations above are designated as Tourism Super Priority Destinations.
While highlighting the safety measures for foreign tourists, the deputy minister said that MoTCE continuously adapts to the latest global tourism safety and security standards. By all means, cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability (CHSE) protocol has become the priority for Indonesian tourism. She said that the safety and comfort of tourists during their visit to Indonesia was top priority, especially after the pandemic.