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Out of Africa

Indonesia Eyes Tourists from South Africa by Launching a Heritage Link with Capetown.

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Indonesia's Department of Culture and Tourism is trying to strengthen cultural ties with Africa in an effort to attract more tourists from that continent, particularly from South Africa.

As reported in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, has set the 2005 target for tourists from Africa at 35,000 estimated able to generate some US$ 31.5 million in foreign exchange. By the year 2009, Indonesia's tourism ministry expects 73,000 tourists from Africa spending upwards of US$ 65.7 million will visit Indonesia every year.

Claiming that Indonesia's promotion in the South African market has never been optimized, Minister Wacik has called for a new commitment from the Indonesian tourism industry to promote travel from that Country.

In 2004, tourists from all of Africa to Indonesia totaled 31,000, down from a 2002 total of 36,000.

Pushing a Common Heritage Theme

According to the Minister, Indonesia is particularly seeking to attract visits by those African nationals with ethnic and heritage links to Indonesia dating back many generations when Javanese slaves were brought to South Africa to harvest sugar cane. The Minister claims there are about 700,000 people of the Malay race living in Cape Town, South Africa, in an area known as Macassar Faure, with about 60% of these people of Indonesian descent.

While current visitors from South Africa are drawn from people overwhelmingly with European or African ancestry, the Minister believes that the region's Malay-stock represents a potentially substantial source of tourists to Indonesia. Minister Wacik said, "Unfortunately, these Indonesian descendants in South Africa have never been very oriented towards Indonesia. For vacations, they tend to choose Malaysia which is more familiar to them." Minister Wacik views it as a new strategic challenge to entice this group to look to Indonesia for holidays, as one step to boost Indonesia's national tourism industry.

Cape Town Easter Festival

In order to raise Indonesia's visibility in the South African travel market, Department of Culture and Tourism, the Provincial Government of South Sulawesi, and members of the Indonesian tourism industry participated in the Easter Festival in Cape Town, March 24-27, 2005 2005. The Indonesian delegation, comprising 99 people, including a cultural performance team, chefs, and historians, and 13 travel companies from Jakarta, Bandung, Bali and South Sulawesi.

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