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ASEAN Cooperations Takes a Hit!

Following Government's Decision Not to Eliminate the Fiscal Charge, Some ASEAN Tour Operators Threaten Retaliation.

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As reported at Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik has announced that the Government will renege on its promises to eliminate the Rp. 1 million (approximately US$109) fiscal charge paid by all Indonesian residents traveling abroad. [See Indonesia First]

Unhappy at the sudden change in policy, the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia reports that a number of ASEAN travel Agencies outside of Indonesia are threatening to stop promoting Indonesian tourism as a move of retaliation against the Indonesian Government's decision see as detrimental to efforts to build intra-ASEAN tourism.

Yachya Machmoed, Chairman of the West Java Chapter of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) told the press that "if Indonesian does not want to eliminate the fiscal charge, we think that travel agents in ASEAN Ė primarily in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore will no longer want to promote Indonesian tour packages."

Citing the long-standing efforts to jointly promote ASEAN tourism and how Indonesia benefits from the markedly higher amounts spent on tourism promotion by other countries in the ASEAN region he added, "if tour operators in neighboring countries refuse to include Indonesian packages in their tour offerings, we (Indonesia) will no longer be able to 'piggy-back' onto their existing promotional efforts."

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