The Chairmen of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) and the Indonesian Conference and Congress Association (INCCA) have said that whichever candidate wins the coming election they hope that the future tourism minister serving the next administration is an individual able to make systematic solutions to tourism problems acceptable to all circles of society.
Quoted in the Monday, September 6, 2004 edition of the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, ASITA national Chairman, Ben Sukma, said the tourism industry needs the Tourism Minister to be a person prepared to take extraordinary action based on a thorough understanding of his field of tourism gained from professional experience in the field. "If (the next administration) makes the wrong choice, then the tourism industry will require another five years to escape their current condition," he warned.
Icqbal Alan Abdullah, Chairman of INCCA said the Minister of Tourism must have the intellectual capital necessary to open minds, accept complaints and remove obstacles. "The tourism industry is not as simplistic as many would have you think," said Icqbal.
The two leaders from INCCA and ASITA listed the four top criteria for the next administration's appointee as a tourism minister:
• First, the coming minister must be a practitioner in the tourism industry, with experience in hotels, tours, congresses and conventions. He or she must be an individual with wide knowledge and experience in tourism.
• Second, the future minister of tourism must have a record of being able to grow tourism with no taint of past bankruptcy.
• Third, the next tourism minister must be prepared to take timely and objective decisions.
• Fourth, the minister of tourism must enjoy wide contacts, horizontally and vertically, in the tourism industry.
Icqbal explained that, to date, tourism has been viewed as an extension of the arts and culture and not as a real sector of the national economy. "Tourism is not just a lot of noise and fanfare, but a sector of the economy able to add to national revenues and create employment," Icqbal explained.
"If tourism is able to generate US$ 5 billion in foreign exchange then its promotion should also receive greater attention, including an allocation for promotion equal to at least 1% of that amount (US$ 100 million)," the INCCA Chairman urged.
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