Indonesia's tourism industry is capable of providing direct lucrative employment to 12 million people by 2009, providing the Government makes a serious commitment to tourism development. That was the promise and the challenge issued by the Chairwoman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Ms. Yanti S. Hardjoprakoso recently when she projected the tourism sector could double its current employment levels in just five years.
Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Ms. Hardjoprakoso said, "The tourism industry and especially the PHRI, hope that the incoming Government will seriously consider the recommendations we have made. Globally, tourism has already become an important industry for the Country." She went on to cite statistics to support her argument, saying France had 75 million visitors in 2003, while China had 100 million visitors in 2002 and the United Arab Emirates were able to attract 12 million visitors.
Claiming that Indonesia's tourism sector had created 2-3 million new jobs in the past three years despite difficult circumstances, she said the sector's work force could double in only five years if all branches of the Government showed a strong commitment to support tourism. That commitment, according to the PHRI Chairwoman, includes financial and non-financial incentives to investors and better coordination between the Central Government and provincial authorities.
In her comments to the press, Ms. Hardjoprakoso renewed her call for the Government to enhance tourism from its current official status under a Ministry to be upgraded to become a full-fledged department of the National Government.
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