The Government of Indonesia says that its doors are wide open for intending investors in its tourism sector.
The Director of Tourism Marketing for South and Central Asia, Middle East and Africa, Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia, Dr Sigit Witjaksono, made the disclosure in Bali while interacting with reporters from sub-Saharan Africa who were in Indonesia on a familiarisation tour.
Witjaksono recalled that Indonesia and Africa have an age-long relationship in many sectors, including tourism, adding that Indonesia expected that in its tourism sector, it could achieve more with African countries by tourists visiting to enjoy wonderful Indonesia destinations and vice versa, noting Indonesia has a lot of similarities with many African countries.
He disclosed that in 2017, a total number of 91,000 Africans visited Indonesia which slightly declined in 2018 to 88,000 due to natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and uncertainties.
Witjaksono, however, said Indonesia, whose tourism sector has taken the second position in its revenue generation rating after coal, expected an increase from the achievement it recorded in 2018.
He explained that as of August, the Indonesian Tourism Sector had already received 58,000 tourists from all over Africa, according to the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics.
While bemoaning the absence of connectivity between Africa and Indonesia, the official said it was important to explore ways of making that connection.
Witjaksono added that in 2018, the Indonesian Government had a cooperative agreement with Ethiopian Airlines, launching direct flights to Indonesia from Addis Ababa through Bangkok, Thailand.
He stated that the move was one of the ways Indonesia connects with Africa and expected that after Ethiopian Airlines, if there are other airlines that could have possible connectivity between Africa and Indonesia, it will help to increase the number of African visitors, as well as to give opportunity to African countries to explore Indonesia as a leisure and business destination.
“In Indonesia, I think since three or four years, we developed what we call ‘Ten New Bali.’ Why we named it as ‘Ten New Bali’ is that we want to have those ten destinations to become like Bali.
“Among those ten new destinations, we make a priority of four of them. One is in North Sumatra, which is called Lake Toba. Lake Toba is a very big lake coming from a volcano tussle years ago. The European people like that area very much.
“And then, another one is in Borobudur, in Central Java, one of the main divisions in the world. And then we have here, close to Bali, I recommend it to you to explore when next you come to Indonesia. It is in West Nusa Tenggara, it is called Mandalika. It is a very beautiful beach.
“You can explore also Lombok, it is a city close to Mandalika. And then, Labuan Bajo, which is located in East Nusa Tenggara, one hour flight from Bali… Komodo Dragons live in that Island. There is no Komodo Dragon in other island in the world. Only in that Island. These are the four super priority destinations.
“Of course for developing these ten new destinations, we need lot of investments here. We are open to foreign investors because our government’s budget, as well as state-owned enterprise, is not enough,” Witjaksono said.
While noting the investment recorded in Mandalika from Qatar in 2018, Witjaksono said more investments were expected by the Indonesian Government.