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Indonesian Aviation Fails to Support National Tourism

Lack of Coordination Between Indonesia's Airlines, Travel Agents and Regional Tourism Organizations Prevents Development of Domestic Destinations.

(7/10/2010) Respected tourism observer and Chairman of Care Tourism, Wuryastuti Sunario, says the national aviation sector fails to support national tourism destination development. Quoted in Bisnis.com, Sunario said the lack of special prices for travel agents makes it difficult for travel agents to work with hotels to promote domestic tourism destinations.

"Without the commitment and support of airlines, who have a fundamental position in pricing, it's difficult for provincial governments and the tourism industry to promote their destinations," explained Sunario.

Continuing, Sunario cited on-line sales of ticket at high prices during peak holiday periods as pushing domestic tourists to visit destinations accessible by road and ferries, such as Bali and Yogyakarta, forsaking other interesting destinations ready and eager to receive visitors. She underlined the inability of Indonesian airlines to work together with travel agencies to give special prices for holiday packages.

Arguing for "tour inclusive air fares," Sunario said: "Tourism development needs block seats, such as those from airlines from neighboring countries like Malaysian Airlines and Thai Airways, who have cooperative programs with travel agents to promote both domestic and international visits to various destinations."

The failure of airlines to stimulate domestic travel in Indonesia is causing many destinations, stretching from Sabang in Aceh until Merauke in Papua, to miss out on a share of the tourism market. Because of this, in the view of Sunario, a whole generation of young Indonesians are missing out on a valuable opportunity to know and love their homeland.

"The Directorate General of the Destination Development at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the provincial tourism promotion boards must sit together with the airlines to create joint packages. In this way, not only will the airlines profit, but the local governments and their respective populations will enjoy multiple benefits from every visitor carried by the airlines," Sunario enthused.

The chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Consortium (Kowindo), Yekti P. Suraji, said that his group had created and packaged domestic tour packages to 10 destinations, but the airlines have not supported these promotional efforts.

Yekti continued: "It should be that during peak seasons, such as the current school holidays, we be given block seats with special prices available to travel agents. Such as for late afternoon flights, when passengers prefer morning flights. Actually, there are many ways (we can cooperate), if the airlines want to make a commitment to developing tourism."

The price of an airline ticket plays an important role in creating a package that is attractive to the public. To do this, the airlines must have a commitment to develop tourism, he added.