Despite the devaluation of the rupiah against the US dollar, appetite for outbound travel among Indonesians remains high, thanks to attractive offers presented at numerous travel fairs that have surfaced this year.
At the recent Garuda Indonesia Travel Fair 2023, hosted in multiple cities across the country – Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, Palembang, Denpasar, Makassar and Jayapura, consumers were able to enjoy discounts of up to 80 per cent along with cash-back worth up to 4.3 million rupiah (US$272).
The fair has a target of 105 billion rupiah in transaction, with 30,000 flight tickets sold. The final transaction is not yet available at press time.
Indonesian outbound specialists told TTG Asia that consumers may be unperturbed because they are now used to the fluctuating conditions of the rupiah.
Furthermore, Indonesians now perceive travelling as a necessity.
Edhi Sutadarma, director at Golden Rama Tours and Travel, added that the ability to travel abroad is “like a status symbol”.
Even with rising costs of travel, affordable destinations remain, opined Davy Batubara, Group COO Smailing Tour. He pointed to Malaysia and Thailand as being good options.
“Even with the current rupiah value, hotel prices in Malaysia and Thailand are still cheaper than in Bali while air ticket prices are not much different,” Davy said.
Both Davy and Edhi noted that the affordability of South-east Asian destinations is a strong pull factor for Indonesians, while Japan and South Korea have risen steadily to become leading destinations among their customers.
Daissy, acting vice president of outbound tour at Wita Tour, is optimistic that outbound travel demand will continue to grow due to back-to-back festive seasons. “The timing is right – the end of year holidays is followed by the Chinese New Year and Eid al-Fitr holidays,” she said.
Golden Rama Tours and Travel as well as Smailing Tour have committed to keeping prices in the face of rising costs and depreciating rupiah, as they would rather reduce profits than lose clients.
However, Edhi admitted that holding out cannot be a long-term solution. “If the rupiah doesn’t strengthen next year, there will have to be a little adjustment,” he said.