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Give or Take a Million Foreign Tourists

Tourism Industry Challenges the Government to Take the Necessary Steps to Achieve a Target of 7 Million Foreign Tourists to Indonesia in 2007.

(2/17/2007) As reported on balidiscovery.com [Bali and Indonesia Targets Growth in 2007 Arrivals], the stated target of 5.5 million foreign visitors from the Department of Culture and Tourism has been ridiculed by Indonesia's Vice-President, Jusuf Kalla, who's urging a more ambitious target in 2007 of 7 million, an increase of +27%.

According to the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik is warming up to the challenge laid by the Vice President, telling the press that the target will be formally reviewed at a meeting set for February 12, 2007.

Meanwhile, members of Bali's tourism industry are adopting a "wait and see" attitude to the higher target, pausing to hear what concrete steps the Government has in mind to ensure the new target is achievable and what role the private sector will take in these programs.

Bagus Sudibya, the Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), is urging the Minister of Culture and Tourism to quickly provide guidance to the tourism industry in order to create the necessary synergy for success. Sudibya explained: "What's most important and fundamental is for the government and private sector to sit together. We must have a shared perception between the regulators, the legislative and the practitioners in the field. Do we really all seek to make tourism the locomotive of the national economy? At present the government seems to be ambivalent on this point."

Sudibya went on to explain how the government publicly supports tourism on one hand, while on the other provides weak support to the tourism sector. To bring 7 million foreign tourists to Indonesia when seen from the aspect of creating an "open skies policy" still lacks a common perception shared between the Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Minister of Transportation, the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises and the private sector members of the tourism industry.

Sudibya asked: "Is 7 million foreign tourists within the present capabilities of the national flag carriers? And, if foreign carriers are granted traffic rights, what happens to national aviation?"

"In principle, the aviation industry and the tourism industry must sit together. Can all the national airlines actually operate internationally given the advanced age of their armadas and the regulations imposed on international flight operations?", added Sudibya.

Sudibya called for some careful calculations to be done to determine the ideal flight capacity to Bali needed to fill the estimated 52,000 rooms, equivalent to 18 million room nights, per year existing among starred hotels and luxury villas in Bali.