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Nurdin Takes Sharp Aim at Tourism Targets

Outspoken Tourism Leader Nurdin Purnomo Thinks Tourism Targets Unrealistic.

(4/11/2005) Nurdin Purnomo, a former presidential candidate and owner of Setia Tours, has leveled a critical broadside at the Minister of Culture and Tourism and the 6 million foreign visitor target he set for 2005.

Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Nurdin termed the officially targeted 6 million foreign visitors spending US$6 billion in 2005 as pie-in-the-sky and unrealistic. In strident terms and tones that are unusual in Indonesia where outright confrontation and criticism are generally avoided, Nurdin said, "that target is crazy, just talk, careless and done without any mature calculations." Adding, "frankly, I was surprised to hear the tourism targets spouted by the Minister of Culture and Tourism in such a light-hearted manner."

In his comments, reported by the Bali Post to have been made in Jakarta on Friday, April 8, 2005, the respected tourism operator and tourism observer explained that in order to achieve the targeted 6 million foreign visitors some 20,000 tourists would need to fly on 200 flights every day carrying an average load of 100 passengers. Using Bali as an example to underline his point, Nurdin said that Bali only averages around 20 flights each day, each carrying between 100 and 200 passengers.

In the Bali Post report Nurdin said that "if counted logically only 600,000 foreign tourists arrive in Bali, nothing near 1 million tourists."(Editor's note: Bali, in fact, recorded slightly more than 1.45 million direct foreign tourist arrivals in 2004.)

Call for More Flights

Nurdin was also quoted in the article as saying the Ministry of Culture and Tourism needs to add more domestic and international flights in order to achieve 18,000 available seats he says are needed each day at the Country's 13 international gateways.

Suggesting the Minister may have set the high targets in order to win a higher promotional budget from lawmakers, he urged the Government not to set "high-sounding and unrealistic tourism targets."

He went on to further disdain the money wasted on overseas trade shows, saying new tactics such as sophisticated websites and cooperation with international television media were more effective means of attracting tourists.