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Government Must Revitalize National Tourism

Prestigious Indonesian Tourism Think Tanks Says Current Approach to National Tourism Just Doesn't Work.

(8/21/2006) The Indonesian Think Tank on Tourism (Masyarakat Pariwisata Indonesia – MPI) have called on the Indonesian Government to urgently revitalize the tourism sector of the national economy and correct the perceived lack of coordination by the Department of Culture and Tourism.

As reported in the Indonesian language Bisnis Indonesia, the Chairman of MPI, Potjo Sutowo, (shown on balidiscovery.com) has called for a "new architecture" to be applied to national tourism designed in equal parts by the government, the public and the tourism industry.

In approaching this "new architecture," according to Sutowo, the government's role is to create a national tourism image and promote tourism; the people's responsibility is to develop the country's tourism products; and the tourism industry’s practitioners function to package the tourism products.

Speaking at a Jakarta forum on Tourism and the Revival of Indonesia, Sutowo explained: "All the leaders of the various sectors must be involved – the government, the public and the tourism industry. It's high time that Indonesia turn away from the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources to an industry that is sustainable."

The Secretary-General of MPI, A Zacky Siradj, said that decision making among tourism's Elite has been little more than lip service, likening their efforts as being more akin to play-acting.

At the same forum, the Director of the Institute fir Development Economics and Finance (INDEF), M. Fadhil Hasan, urged that the revitalization of national tourism must bee done in conjunction with a repositioning of Indonesia's image and tourism strategies, adding: "Tourism is the second largest contributor of foreign exchange after the oil and gas sector and is capable of absorbing 15% of the labor force. Indonesia must reshuffle and reposition itself in the region, both on a competitive and regional cooperation level."

Hasan explained that the repositioning of Indonesian tourism must develop a sustainable product, moving away from mass markets to a new basis that empowers a people who enjoy the support of the regional and national government.