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President: Be Smart and Creative in Promoting Tourism

Yudhoyono and Tourism Leaders United in More Dynamic and Creative Approach to Promoting Tourism.

(3/31/2007) The Indonesian language website Bisnis.com reports that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on the Department of Culture and Tourism to optimize their work, be smarter and more creative in developing national tourism. The President's comments were made at the opening of a 3-day national coordinating meeting on culture and tourism held at the National Palace in Jakarta.

The President told the meeting: "In fact volcanoes, areas of national disaster, mud volcanoes, earthquake zones and tsunami affected areas all have the potential to become tourist attractions. This is not 'disaster tourism,' but Indonesia's geology which is presented for tourism. If thousands of people come to see the colors of our volcanic crater lakes, that is not a problem . . . Let's be smart, creative and innovative."

The President hopes the tourism industry is able to become the top contributor of foreign exchange to the economy, as in the case of the United States where tourism generates an estimated US200 billion. In this regard, the Head of State urged the Department of Culture and Tourism not to be embarrassed to study from other countries where tourism has become a mainstay of the economy.

A Highly Competitive Tourism Market

The Council on Indonesian Tourism (DEPARI) used the occasion to remind all tourism stakeholders that Indonesia faces strong competition from neighboring destinations. Because of this, the Council said steps are needed to rescue tourism through joint programs to prevent the collapse of the tourism sector.

Sri Mulyono Herlambang, the Chairman of DEPARI recently said: "In confronting this strong competition the Minister of Culture and Tourism, all tourism associations and affiliated agencies cannot adopt a defensive attitude. On the contrary, they must develop an offensive strategy. A defensive attitude will only delay our eventual defeat."

Close Cooperation Needed

While on a private level, the Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik enjoys good relations with the heads of Indonesia's various tourism organizations. However, in the future, closer cooperation on an institutional level is needed to create strategies to confront hyper-competition.