Quoted in the Indonesian language Bali Post, Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, is urging Indonesia's national flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia to recommence now-suspended flight services between Indonesia and China, Europe and India.
In comments made to the press on Wednesday, June 22, 2005, Minister Wacik said, "I have already requested and obtained permission from the Minister of Transportation to invite the Directors of Garuda and Merpati Nusantara to open a dialogue on recommencing direct overseas flights in connection with the addition of 13 new countires to the visa-on-arrival list."
Citing air access and seat availability as fundamental to encouraging tourist arrivals and meeting the governemnt's target of 6 million visitors for 2005, the Minister jokingly suggested that unless easy air access was provided to tourists the only alternative left was for visitors "to swim" to their Indonesian holidays.
If Garuda and Merpati continued to be unable or unwilling to re-eastablish direct international ari links, the Minister said he would then have no hesitation to ask privately held airlines to fly the routes, hinting he had already been approached by ailines eager to provide this service.
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