Indonesia pumps US$14.8m million into cross-border tourism promotion

About 250 cross the border separating Indonesia and Timor Leste everyday

To develop and promote cross-border tourism, the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism has set aside 200 billion rupiah (US$14.8 million) and prepared 214 events to be staged in 29 cross-border areas for 2018.

Speaking at the launch of the programme in Jakarta last Friday, Indonesia’s tourism minister, Arief Yahya, said: “In Indonesia, cross-border traffic is still small, at 20 per cent of total arrivals (or 3.2 million), of which, 90 per cent are to Riau Islands (Batam and Bintan particularly).”

In comparison, cross-border traffic makes up 93 per cent of total arrivals in the Netherlands, 65 per cent in Malaysia and 61 per cent in Singapore, according to Arief.

Indonesian border with Timor Leste

With the ministry targeting 3.6 million cross-border arrivals next year, Arief identified opportunities to grow cross-border traffic between Indonesia and countries such as Malaysia,Timor Leste, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

While challenges such as the lack of facilities, infrastructure and lower purchasing power in many of the cross-border areas remain, Arief believed there are ways to get around these obstacles and create demand around the calendar of events the ministry is introducing.

Arief suggested, for example, to make products affordable; overcome the lack of accommodation with glamping facilities or caravans; and overcome the lack of Internet access by operating portable BTS.

He also reminded the audience, among whom were regency and district heads from cross-border areas, of the importance of millennials, who he said are eager to broadcast where they have been and what they have done on social media.

“I encourage the (regencies and districts) to create digital destinations, instagram-able destinations,” he said.

To stimulate the regents, he said: “I am budgeting another 100 billion rupiah (on top of the 200 billion rupiah for cross-border tourism) to support the regions which are into the development of digital destinations.”

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