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Indonesian Tourism Waiting for its Wake-Up Call

Tourism Observers Hope Long Delayed Appointment of Top Level Tourism Officials Will Herald a More Pro-Active Tourism Stance.

(8/8/2005) The Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia quotes Adnan Karamoy, the Chairman of the tourism monitoring section of the Team for Economic Recovery (KPEN), as saying that he hoped the long-delayed installation of 1st echelon officials within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will improve the currently poor state of coordination between the private and public sector on tourism matters. The 1st echelon officials, referred to by Karamoy, are the front-line assistants of the Culture and Tourism Ministry whose appointment has been unexplainably postponed for months by Minister Jero Wacik.

The Tampak Siring Commitment

Lamenting the failure to advance the various points agreed at a special tourism summit held in the Bali Tampak Siring Palace in February of this year, Karamoy said, "President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has already directly lead a coordination meeting between tourism-related ministers, governors and even the Chief of Police in Tampak Siring in February; moreover that meeting was followed by Presidential Instructions . However, until now the results of that meeting are not evident."

Commenting on the lateness in the appointment of 1st echelon officials at the Ministry, Karamoy added, "the delay in appointing 1st echelon officials has contributed to delays in the recovery process for Indonesian tourism, following on after a number of other disasters including the tsunami in Aceh and bird flu. Hopefully the appointment of these officials in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will help to stimulate national tourism development."

The 1st ecehelon officials at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are scheduled to be sworn in during the second week of August 2005.

Concrete Steps Needed

According to Adnan, the coordinating role given to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism at the Tampak Siring Summit must be followed up with concrete programs, characterized by strong leadership and coordination.

Saying that Indonesian tourism promotion lags badly behind competing countries in the region, Adnan said that Indonesian tourism also faces many obstacles both in terms of regulations and the business environment.

His team at the KPEN has called for the establishment off Tourism Satellite Accounting (TSA) systems in order to fully understand the widespread effects of tourism on the national economy. His committee also sees the need for a body charged with carrying out the public relations and promotional policies of the Ministry, as well as the need for an urgent revision of the now out-dated 1990 laws on tourism.