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Indonesia Losing the Tourism Promotion Battle

Minister Wacik Says Lackluster Arrivals in Indonesia Due to Being Outspent by Competing Destinations in the Region.

(8/26/2006) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, has complained that Indonesia is at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring competing destinations, such as Malaysia, which substantially outspends his country in promoting tourism.

Malaysia Outspending Indonesia by a Factor of 6

Quoted in the Indonesian language BisnisBali, Minister Wacik said, "our promotion funds total only US$10 million, while Malaysia spends US60 million. Speaking at the finals for the "Miss Indonesia" contest held in Jakarta several days before, Wacik explained that the relative lack of spending by Indonesia largely explains Malaysia's greater popularity as a tourism destination.

Claiming that he has tried to persuade the President and the Parliament of the importance of promoting Indonesia internationally, Minister Wacik said that the Executive and lawmakers were not unsympathetic but were strapped for funds in the current economic circumstances of Indonesia.

The State Budget for 2007 allocates between Rp. 1-1.5 trillion (approximately US$100-150 million) for the Department of Culture and Tourism a total twice the current spending. The Minister insists that this amount remains inadequate to meet Indonesia's promotion requirements necessitating the need for cooperative promotional efforts between the private and public sectors. According to Wacik: "if members of the tourism industry do not want to cooperate with government in promotion, they will suffer most. Tourists will not come and tourism players will suffer losses as incomes from hotels, restaurants and golf courses emanate from tourists."