Virtual tours open new doors for Indonesia’s tourism sector

A raft of Indonesian travel companies are making strides in reaching new demographics by investing in virtual tours, a concept which has flourished as coronavirus-related lockdowns confine people to their homes.

Wisata Kreatif Jakarta (WKJ – the Jakarta Creative Tour), for example, is offering virtual travel experiences of two Indonesian destinations, Jakarta and Yogyakarta, as well as overseas destinations like Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome, Seoul, and Mecca.

Travellers around the globe can now sojourn to Badung to view local attractions like the iconic Gedung Sate (above), thanks to virtual tours rolled out by the city’s tour operators

Similarly, Jakarta Good Guide (JGG) in April launched the Jakarta City Center virtual package, a series of webinars where hosts take guests on a virtual walking tour around Menteng, Hotel Indonesia Circle, and National Monument, through tech tools like Zoom, Google Maps and Google Earth. The guide also displays photos, videos, and audio related to the places.

Huans Sholehan, marketing manager of JGG, said that its inaugural virtual tour received a surprisingly positive response, which inspired the company to create a new package, the Cikini route. Now, JGG already has 27 routes.

He said that there are at least 20 participants joining the company’s tours daily, with higher numbers on weekends.

Seeing the keen interest in virtual tours, JGG is expanding its online travel menu, with different themes such as coffee, monuments, ramadan, and mosques. The firm is also in the midst of crafting a special route for corporations to take their employees on virtual tours.

Also elbowing its way into the e-action is Bandung Good Guide (BGG), which currently offers over 15 virtual experiences. The agency is now promoting a new exclusive tour dubbed Urban Legend Route, which traces the history and myths surrounding Bandung.

Fitria Nur, co-founder of BGG, said the virtual tours have helped them reach new markets. “Previously, most of our tour participants were from Jakarta and Bandung. With virtual tours, we get guests from Bali, Semarang, and Yogyakarta,” she added.

Bandung Good Guide’s virtual tours bring homebound travellers to explore the Indonesian city

Likewise, Jaya Wisata is also attracting a new demographic with the launch of its Cirebon virtual tours in May.

Its director, Imas Kurniawati, shared that compared to clients of its physical tours who are usually above 35 years old or in their 40s, most participants of its virtual tours are in the age group of 20-35 years. “They are mostly young people from big cities like Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya, who are still hungry for new things and are curious,” Imas said.

To attract more younger fans, Imas will be launching several new virtual tour packages featuring West Java’s lesser-known destinations, such as Kuningan, Majalengka, and Indramayu.

Imas said that although the income raked in from virtual tours pales in comparison to that from physical tours, it helps to keep the revenue flowing nonetheless and ensure the survival of travel businesses.

She elaborated: “We don’t know how long this crisis will last, or the extent of the damage to the industry and the wider economy. But these virtual tours are giving us hope that there is still a light – as long as we stay positive, creative, and willing to learn.”

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