Air Macau has opened its thrice-weekly direct flights to Jakarta as of November 28.
Using the Airbus 320 with 154 seats in Business, Premium Economy and Economy classes, the service is available on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
In conjunction with the inaugural service, both Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute brought a group of delegates representing trade, business events and tourism sectors to Jakarta on a “Macao Tourism + MICE Product Updates” session, where a networking lunch with the travel trade and the media was held on November 29.
A series of signings also took place – between the Association of Travel Agents in Indonesia (ASTINDO) and the Macao Travel Agency Association; between ASTINDO and Macao Leisure Tourism Services Innovation Association, as well as between Asia Links and Top Holiday-P&E International Travel, to promote travel between Indonesia and Macau.
Cheng Wai Tong, deputy director of MGTO, commented in his speech: “As a South-east Asia travel market with great potential, Indonesia ranks third among Macau’s international visitor markets and sixth among 10 leading source markets. (This year’s data up to) November 26 showed Macau has welcomed 120,000 visitors from Indonesia.”
Macau has always been a popular destination for Indonesians due to its proximity via a five-hour flight from Jakarta to Hong Kong, followed by a convenient travel through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, according to Cheng.
“With the introduction of Air Macau’s direct services, there is (no need) to transfer via Hong Kong anymore, saving both time and cost for travellers. We believe this new route will boost tourism, enhance cultural exchange, and improve connectivity between our cities,” said Cheng, adding that the visa-free facility for Indonesian passport holders would be more convenient for travellers.
Jeffrey Ng, general manager for Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia of Air Macau told TTG Asia that the airline saw Indonesia’s population and growing economy as an opportunity to “let the people in Jakarta know more about Macau”. On the other hand, Macau’s location in the Greater Bay Area opens up opportunity not only for the people of Macau but also for those in Hong Kong and the surrounding areas of China to fly to Jakarta.
On the choice of Jakarta instead of Bali, Ng explained: “There are already many flights to Bali – besides, Jakarta is the capital city, and we want both corporate and leisure travellers to fly with us.”
In the meantime, Pauline Suharno, president of ASTINDO said the recovery of international flights to Indonesia this year had reached 88 per cent of 2019 levels and is expected to reach 95 per cent in 2024.
Pauline said Indonesians were confident travellers, despite any crises, as the success of many travel fairs held in Jakarta have proven.
Citing an example, she said: “The ASTINDO Travel Fair (held) in Jakarta end-August, although smaller in scale compared to the one in February, managed to (attract) over 25,000 visitors and sales of over US$3 billion.”