Indonesia attracts almost double the number of international tourists than India, but visitors from India are few. In order to attract more tourists from India, which is potentially a huge market, Indonesia will now grant visa-free entry to Indians.
Indonesia’s Director for Asia Pacific Tourism Promotion (APAC), Vinsensius Jemadu was in India recently to promote Indonesian tourism and to attract more Indians to visit the archipelago. He said that Indonesia and India enjoy very good relations which will help in attracting more tourists. Indonesia was also a participant in India’s leading travel and tourism trade show, the South Asian Tourism and Travel Expo (SATTE) 2016, held January 20-31 in New Delhi, India.
Jemadu said that more than 10 million people from around the world visit Indonesia every year, but only 270,000 are from India. Indonesia attracts the highest number of tourists from Singapore, followed by Malaysia, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and then India.
“Realizing that India is a big market, the Indonesian government decided to grant free visas to Indians. We have set a target to attract 350,000 tourists from India this year, which is a big challenge for us,” Jemadu said. “Most of the people from India visit Bali. Maybe it is because they do not know about other places here. We want them to explore other parts of the country as well,” he added.
Indonesia’s tourism industry contributes nine percent to the country’s GDP. “Our plans are to boost tourism industry and increase it to 15 percent of the GDP by the end of 2019.”
“As much as 60 percent of the total tourists visit Indonesia because of its rich cultural heritage, while 35 percent come to the country to see its natural beauty. Five percent of tourists come here to enjoy man-made activities,” Jemadu explained.
Jemadu also expressed his concern over lack of direct connectivity between India and Indonesia. “So far there is no direct flight between the two countries. People from India reach Indonesia via Singapore or Malaysia which is not good for tourism because people have to spend more time and money in traveling.” He added that this issue will be resolved soon as both the governments have agreed to start direct flight between the two nations.
“I am hopeful that the direct flight between Mumbai and Bali will start by March or April. Garuda Indonesia airline has agreed to operate flights between the two countries,” said Jemadu.