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A Tourism-Minded President

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Promises Increased Security; Minister Wacik Calls for a Higher Budget for Tourism Promotion

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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently reaffirmed his intention to boost the recovery of tourism to Indonesia. As reported in the Indonesian language newspaper Bisnis Indonesia, the President said he seeks opportunities to promotes tourism at every opportunity during his trips abroad.

Seeing is Believing

The President said, "Whenever I'm abroad and meet with foreign nationals, I always encourage them to visit Bali Ė seeing is believing!" The President also underlined how at tourism is crucially important to Indonesia's economic recovery.

"Revenue from tourism can help to improve community welfare," he said, reminding everyone that tourism is one of Indonesia's main sources of national revenue, together with taxes, customs, oil and gas resources, and profits from state-owned corporations (BUMN).

The President was speaking during a meeting with traditional religious leaders at Batur Temple in Kintamani, Bali, on Sunday, February 27, 2005. That meeting was one of a series of events held during the course of a 2-day Culture and Tourism Coordinating Meeting head quartered at the Tampak Siring Presidential Palace.

The meeting, the first of its kind on tourism and culture issues lead directly by the President, was attended by a number of ministers, regional governors and tourism stakeholders.

Security a Key Concern for Bali's Tourism Recovery

President Yudhoyono explained that when he goes abroad, he is always asked about Bali, reflecting how strongly the global community feels a kinship with the island. Emphasizing how Bali's tourism sector began to recover after the disastrous impact of the October 12, 2002 terrorist bombing, he repeated his pledge that the government would put maximal efforts towards maintaining security. Adding, "let's not let Bali's security be undermined again, because this will make tourists fearful. Let's keep a focus on security, public facilities, culture, and tourism."

Repeating that security is the key criteria for the success of the local tourism industry, the President said, "I guarantee that foreign tourists will return."

Tourism Minister Recommends Investing More in Tourism Promotion

The Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik stated that the Government would soon issue a Presidential decree that will serves as the basis for a comprehensive law to cover the development of the tourism industry. Wacik emphasized that the development of tourism is not sole job of the Department of Culture and Tourism who cannot succeed in their mission without the support of other departments and agencies.

The Minister used the opportunity to restate his concern that budget for tourism promotion is grossly inadequate. The Minister explained, "right now it's still very low at Rp.90 billion, or about US$18 million. We have recommended it be increased to at least Rp.180 billion."

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