Mr. I Gde Pitana
Deputy Minister for International Tourism Marketing Development, Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia
JAPAN and the WORLD magazine conducted the interview with Mr. I Gde Pitana – Deputy Minister for International Tourism Marketing Development, Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia – to find out more about the country’s strategies to increase inbound tourism from Japan.
—The government of Indonesia has been working on attracting 1 million tourists from Japan by 2019. What country branding strategies have been set in order to achieve that?
Our main country branding strategy is Wonderful Indonesia, which is focusing on bringing more tourists from all over the world, including Japan, through more intense promotion. Last year we welcomed around 450,000 Japanese tourists who mostly visited Bali. The Indonesian archipelago has more than 13, 000 islands and this year we set a target of 550,000 Japanese tourists to visit destinations other than Bali. Apart from Wonderful Indonesia, we came up with sub-branding programs, what we call destination brand with 10 prioritized destinations that we are focusing on promoting between 2014 and 2019. These destinations offer eco-tourism, halal-tourism, heritage-tourism, and cultural-tourism.
—According to some sources the “Wonderful Indonesia” campaign is less effective than for example “Malaysia Truly Asia”. Why?
We recognize that we still need to work on the campaign. However, we have already noticed a great improvement. Wonderful Indonesia, which was previously unranked, soared 100 ranks to 47th place in 2015 in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF), beating out ‘Amazing Thailand’. It was possible thanks to intensifying its promotion on various platforms. Indonesia will continue to optimize the promotion of its tourism sector at the global level. On top of that, the government has increased the budget for marketing by 300% in 2016 in comparison to the previous year. This enables marketing communication to all channels in cooperation with major PR agencies, tourism search engine and social media.
—What is still to be done in the Indonesia tourism sector?
In order to recognize the needs in the tourism sector, the Government of Indonesia is following the Triple A policy, namely: attraction, accessibility and amenities. Attraction is related to the mentioned 10 prioritized destinations.
Accessibility means improvement of infrastructure, as building 15 new airports, extending airplanes’ runways, and renovating passenger terminals. We are also working on having more direct flights from Tokyo and Osaka. I visited the JAL office 2 months ago in order to increase the number of flights to Indonesia. As a result JAL brought a study team to Bali to see about the possibility, so there is a good sign already. Garuda Airlines offers direct flights to Bali from Tokyo, however there are not enough seats to meet growing demand. I also want to develop a strategy to combine two countries in one trip with Singapore.
As for the last A – amenities – we want to promote our services and hospitality that match the international standards.
—What is attracting the Japanese tourists in Indonesia the most?
In many statistics, Bali was named the world’s second best island travel destination for 2015, just one step behind Ecuador’s famed Galapagos Islands. The Indonesian island’s natural beauty, cultural uniqueness, and local hospitality are among the reasons behind this achievement. A prominent example is Raja Ampat clinching the top spot, and the Komodo National Park securing second place on CNN’s list of World’s Best Snorkeling Destinations, which was announced in 2015.
The government is expecting Japan to rank fifth in arrival statistics, after Singapore, Malaysia, China and Australia.
One of the attractions for Japanese tourists is ocean tourism. At least 35% of Japanese tourists partake in beach-related activities such as diving and snorkeling.
Japan remains a big investor in Indonesia’s automotive and electronic industries and has also shown a keen interest in investing in the tourism sector. We welcome you in Indonesia.
For more information about Indonesia, please visit the official website of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism: www.indonesia.travel.