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Straight Talk on Tourism

A Member of the Tourism Commission in Indonesia's House of Representatives (DPR) Says Government Not Interested in Tourism.

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It's about time that National Tourism Development be supported by the Country's political elite and be integrated into the Country's policy making process, so says the Chairman of the sub-committee for tourism within Commission V of the Indonesian House of Representatives.

Mr. Ali Afni Husin, complained that those in power have little interest in including tourism within the framework of national policy making. "They do not see tourism as a prime producer of foreign exchange and, as a result, fail to lend their support to that sector of the economy." He added, "This view, I think, is because tourism makes no direct contribution to the bureaucracy of state revenues."

Speaking at a forum in Jakarta with the theme of Tourism, Freedom and Indonesia's New Cabinet, the legislator explained that the Nation's bureaucrats must correct their misconceptions, because tourism creates some US$ 5 billion in foreign exchange that go directly to the public. Taking closer aim at the problem, Mr. Husin said, "The bureaucrats don't consider the tourism sector important because its revenues cannot be directly corrupted, flowing instead straight to the people for their direct enjoyment."

Pointing to the lack of a strategy for the marketing and promotion of tourism and the absence of synergy between the various government departments involved in tourism, Mr. Husin blamed a lack of understanding of the potential economic benefits tourism can bring to the Country.

Mr. Husin suggested that the newly appointed Government of President Megawati Soekarnoputri also fails to comprehend the potential strategic importance of the tourism sector, adding "I don't know if this is the personal view of the President or only those around her." (Bisnis Indonesia, 16 August 2001)

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