Mr. I Gede Ardika, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, has publicly expressed his disappointment with several major national tour operators who only seek to sell overseas tour programs while neglecting to promote domestic tourism.
The Minister made his observations at the opening of a major domestic tourism exposition he opened in Jakarta on Thursday, May 20, 2004. He said that tour companies that only sold overseas programs lacked the soul to develop their own national culture and the ethical values to help develop the Nation.
The Minister, quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post said: "Frankly, Indonesia is rich with a wide variety of tourism objects, but these people would rather promote the attractions of another nation over those of their own country."
The Minister pointed out how recent changes in Government policy providing for a number of extended weekends had helped contribute to the estimated 145 million domestic tourists now generated every year. This factor has helped Indonesia recover quickly from the last downturn in visitors and created a new sense of nationalism and pride among Indonesians experiencing the beauty and splendor of their country for the first time.
Minister Ardika also reminded his listeners of the huge potential for tourism to create jobs and new businesses, pointing out that domestic tourism also fosters greater unity and mutual appreciation among all Indonesians.
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