Visit Indonesia Year 2008

The Indonesian government is confident that 2008 will be a bumper year for tourism. With that in mind they have declared it ‘Visit Indonesia Year’ and are ramping up infrastructure in preparation. Here’s more from the Jakarta Post.

Smile, it’s Visit Indonesia Year

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In addition to the government’s efforts to improve safety and infrastructure, ordinary Indonesians can also contribute to the success of Visit Indonesia Year 2008 by doing what they do best — smiling and being friendly, according to a minister.

Gearing up for the next year’s big challenge, the government, as well as improving key infrastructure — such as road and telecommunications networks — will also launch a promotional campaign to raise public awareness of the event.

And, according to Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, the success of the program will hinge on the friendliness of ordinary Indonesians.

“Our people must be friendly, show smiling faces, and all concerned must cater to foreign tourists in a friendly way so as to help the country promote its tourism industry next year,” Jero said Wednesday.

On the business side, he said local administrations needed to facilitate investors by simplifying licensing procedures for the establishment of tourist facilities, such as hotels and resorts.

The administrators of airports and tourist attractions should also pay special attention to ensuring every possible convenience for visitors, he added.

To increase the awareness of the Indonesian people about the importance of promoting the tourism industry, the central government, in cooperation with local governments, would organize a workshop in Bandung next weekend to discuss what was needed to improve Indonesia’s competitiveness in the tourism field.

On Saturday, also in Bandung, the government will launch a national campaign to improve the awareness of the public and stakeholders about the importance of properly welcoming foreign tourists and ensuring their safety, he said.

To guarantee the safety of tourists, the government will establish tourist police units in major tourism spots, in cooperation with the National Police, he said.

So far, Jero said the ministry had produced tourism kits, including tourist maps, calendars of events, stickers and pins that would be made available at hotels, travel agents, airline offices and tourist destinations so as to promote next year’s campaign.

With the Visit Indonesia Year 2008 campaign, which will be inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Jan. 1, the country hopes to attract seven million foreign tourists and earn US$6.4 billion in foreign exchange.

The number of tourist arrivals is expected to increase to six million this year from 4.8 million in 2006.

Bali seems to be picking up nicely as far as tourism is concerned, with new shops around town and people obviously not scared to chuck money around. The UNFCCC (UN Framework Conference on Climate Change) which is scheduled to start in Bali on Dec 4th, will put the island squarely in the spotlight.