Indonesian trade anticipates more pro-tourism policies ahead of elections result

Jokowi at the Asian Games held in Jakarta last year (photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

With early results from the national and presidential elections yesterday pointing towards a victory for Joko Widodo, travel industry members express hopes for a continuation of a tourism-friendly roadmap in the next presidential term.

The official and final result of Indonesia’s first simultaneous elections will be announced by the Indonesian Election Commission on May 22, however, the quick count tallies of votes showed Widodo was leading between 7.1 and 11.6 percentage points over Prabowo Subianto.

Jokowi at the Asian Games held in Jakarta last year (photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Private pollsters data based on a partial count of samples from polling stations showed him winning the popular vote with about 54 per cent.

While the travel trade awaits the official results, Nunung Rusmiati, chairperson of Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA), is optimistic that tourism would continue to benefit in the event of a Jokowi victory.

“We are on the right track. Jokowi’s government has led our nation’s tourism industry forward. For the second term, I hope he will involve more private sector (players) and associations to develop tourism. Because, after all, we are in the field and understand the market situation.”

Adjie Wahjono, operations manager of Aneka Kartika Tours & Travel services, also noted that Jokowi has taken steps in the right direction, particularly when it comes to infrastructure.

For example, Adjie explained, the infrastructure development carried out by Jokowi not only improved logistic performance and drove economic activities. It also makes it easier for travellers to reach more destinations throughout Indonesia in a shorter time.

Adjie said: “The (new) trans-Java toll road, which spans from Merak Port in Banten to Surabaya in East Java, can revive overland tourism. Tour packages can also be more varied because everything can be reached easily and faster.”

“In the past, it took between four and five hours to reach Bromo from Surabaya, now the trip can be (completed) in only two hours. This time difference can be used to visit other tourist destinations,” he continued.

While hoping for Jokowi to continue the existing roadmap, Eduard Rudolf Pangkerego, COO of Artotel Group, opined that the focus should be shifting from numbers to quality.

He said: “Quality tourism makes business more sustainable and makes the right impact in other areas as well. The image of Indonesia will also improve, because (we will be seen as) protecting nature, rather than exploiting it for tourism.”

Whatever the election result may be, Rusmiati wishes for better core competency in human resources. “Services play an important role in the tourism business. And quality services are determined by quality human resources.”

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