The Visit Indonesia Tourism Office (VITO) – the promotion arm of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism – in Singapore has been upgraded to a Wonderful Indonesia Tourism Office (WITO) to become the first full tourism promotion office overseas since 1996, when the government closed the Indonesia Tourism Promotion Office in Singapore.
Sulaiman Shehdek, who has been appointed WITO Singapore country manager, has been handed a significant increase in budget to increase footfalls from Singapore. His team now comprises a marketing manager, marketing executive, as well as marketing and administration support.
Sulaiman shared that Singapore is both a “big market” for Indonesia, as well as an international hub, which is another important arrival source. He shared: “The minister of tourism has deemed it important to have a full office to enable us to maximise Singapore’s potential of both market segments.”
Data from 2018 showed that arrivals from Singapore to Indonesia totalled 1.7 million, and the office’s responsibility is to achieve four million arrivals, where half of it will come from maximising the hub.
For the Singapore market, the plan is to promote Riau Islands (Batam, Bintan, Tanjung Pinang and Tanjung Balai) and 14 destinations in Indonesia – such as Belitung, Pekanbaru and Bandung – that have direct flights from Singapore.
“Riau Islands continue to play an important role (for the Singaporean market). Data from 2017 showed that 72 per cent of Singaporean arrivals to Indonesia was to Riau Islands. We will continue to promote this,” he said.
WITO Singapore will work together with local travel operators to sell Batam and Bintan, as well as hotels to create programmes.
Sulaiman lamented that some Singaporeans may not even know of other destinations in Indonesia beyond Riau Islands, Jakarta and Bali.
“Meanwhile, competition in the region is also high. There are many LCCs (that fly to and from) Singapore, and there are other destinations that offer cheap packages to Singaporeans. Therefore, we will hold more activities and events here this year (to increase awareness of other Indonesian destinations),” he said.
Among WITO Singapore’s plans is bringing consumer sales programmes to the heartlands; working more closely with inbound tour operators as well as airlines to conduct joint marketing campaigns; organising travel fairs at malls; participating in NATAS fairs, and managing tactical campaigns for special airline fares.
Next, programmes to tap the international traveller market arriving in Singapore will include developing partnerships with tour operators to sell twin destination-itineraries.
“The Ministry of Tourism will work with (the trade and airlines) in the origin country of the travellers. Those who have been sending clients to Singapore will be invited to include a destination in Indonesia in their packages, for instance, the Fly and Ferry package to Bintan, where tourists travelling to Singapore can also enjoy a ferry ride to Bintan plus accommodation at a very special price,” Sulaiman said.