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Tourism Funding Still Not a High Priority

Culture and Tourism Department Will Curtail Trade Show Support and Concentrate on TV Advertising Due to Lower-than-expected Marketing Budget for 2008.

(6/25/2007) The Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia reports that the Department of Culture and Tourism will obtain official funding in the 2009 State budget in excess of Rp. 1 trillion (approximately US$111 million).

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik expressed his thanks to Commission X of the House of Representatives (DPR) in Jakarta saying the promised funding will allow his office to pursue 9 key programs. Included among these key programs are funding for Visit Indonesia Year 2008, the World Culture Forum, a national tourism awareness campaign and a national cultural congress. Wacik's Department also intends to enter into a cooperative program with the national carrier Garuda Indonesia to set up Indonesian Promotion Offices at 21 overseas offices of the airline in the coming year.

The Budget Breakdown

Despite words of thanks from the Minister to the legislators, the 2008 budget did not include an additional Rp. 298.3 billion (approximate US$33.1 million) in supplemental marketing funds requested to help his Department achieve higher tourist arrival numbers.

Resizing the promotional budget for tourism to only Rp. 158.5 billion (approximately US$19.2 million), the Minister told the press that promotions would focus on television advertisements. Explaining his decision to spend promotional funds on the electronic media, the Minister explained: "compared with neighboring countries, this is what Indonesia is lacking. Media advertising has proven to be powerful in boosting the interest of travelers in a destination."

According to reports in the Indonesian press, the lower level of funding means the Department of Culture of Tourism will cut down on familiarization trips and trade show participation.