Indonesian agents pray religion will sell

INDONESIAN outbound operators are looking to religious travellers as a form of diversification, and are increasing offerings or introducing new programmes to cater to this market.

Agents at the Indonesia Pilgrimage Travel Fair, held in Jakarta over the weekend, said such tours went beyond pilgrim worship purposes.

“Indonesia has the largest Muslim society who also needs to travel for a holiday. Their common concerns when taking an overseas trip are the praying times and halal food,” said TIM Tour and Travel general manager Anni Nuraini, who is also secretary general of the Community of Muslim Tour Operators (KPWM).

The consortium of agents introduced Muslim tour packages covering Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and South Korea in 2010, and will add programmes to Japan, Australia and Turkey this year.

Star Midas Travel Service director Rini Indriani said he was also planning to come up with Muslim tour programmes, in addition to his main business in corporate incentives and Mecca pilgrimages.

During the trade show, Panorama Tours also launched a slew of religion-related packages such as the Korea Pilgrimage for Catholics and the India Lotus Path Pilgrimage for Buddhists. These will be offered during the January-March low season.

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