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Indonesian Tourism Adrift

Discussions on Blue Print for Tourism Explores Many Problems of Promoting Indonesia.

(9/30/2002) Top ranking officials and business people from Indonesia's tourism sector gathered at a workshop at Bali's Gardenia Hotel on September 19-20 to discuss the formulation of a blue print for marketing tourism.

Drs. Thamrin Bachri, Deputy Minister for Culture and Tourism, bemoaned the confusion in current national marketing activities characterized by uncoordinated, sporadic, and piecemeal approaches to the marketplace.

Luther Barrung, the Director of Marketing and International Cooperation from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, explained to the seminar that Indonesia's position in world tourism markets has been further eroded by the tragic events of 911 and the litany of change taking place in how the tourism business is conducted, including matters of world trade, security, human rights, environmental awareness, and e-commerce.

Members of the private sector participating in the blue-print seminar complained of the Government's failure to devise a strategy to meet the current multi-dimensional crisis confronting the nation's tourism industry. Rather than wait for the Government to devise a game plan, the private business people defended their decision to take independent action to preserve and create markets for their tourism products.

Luther Barrung reported to the seminar participants that his department, in cooperation with academic sources and industry leaders, had identified the profiles of some 122 potential markets to help guide the public and private sectors in their pursuit of tourism visitors. Echoing these sentiments, Bachri underlined that the days of a shotgun approach to tourism promotion are over, with the market now demanding a more positive and selective targeting of markets.