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Malaysia is Indonesia`s top tourist market

Indonesia, expecting some 450,000 Malaysian visitors this year, has listed its closest neighbour as its prime tourist market….

Indonesia, expecting some 450,000 Malaysian visitors this year, has listed its closest neighbour as its prime tourist market.

It is set to aggressively promote tourist destinations yet-to-be visited by many Malaysians, Indonesia`s Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism (Marketing) Udin Saifuddin said.

He said his country, confident of wooing Malaysians in big numbers, was making appropriate preparations to welcome them.

This underlines Indonesia`s firm commitment to turn Asean into a promising region in economic growth through tourism, he told Bernama in an exclusive interview at the Roadshow to Asean to promote Indonesia in Malaysia.

Indonesia`s private sector also participated in the roadshow.

Currently, Malaysia is Indonesia`s third largest tourist market after Singapore and Japan.

A study showed 83 percent of Malaysians visited Indonesia on their own arrangement and only 14.6 percent took package tours.

Of the total, about 46 percent came for business dealings and the rest for leisure and vacation, he said.

Their main destinations were Jakarta, Medan and Bali.

Those arriving by sea make Batam Island their main destination, accounting for 27.3 percent of total arrivals from Malaysia, he said.

The tourism industry raked in US$4.3 billion in foreign exchange last year to the world`s fourth most populous nation, making tourism the second largest foreign exchange earner after the oil and gas sector.

Anticipating more than 5.1 million tourist arrivals this year, Indonesia is building new hotels in many popular tourist destinations.

Among them are a five-star Bulgary Hotel in Bali and a four-star hotel in the scenic Bangka Island.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel is being built in Jakarta, he said.

Udin said regional tourism among Asean countries had surged markedly, buoyed by the increase in intra-regional flights, connecting more points in Malaysia, Singapore and many more cities in Sumatera and Java.

Indonesian tourism officials noted that South Sulawesi was attracting visitors from Malaysia, particularly from Johor and Selangor, with ethnic Bugis ancestral family ties.

Udin said there was huge potential still open to Malaysia and Indonesia, which shared many similarities, to improve two-way tourism.

Malaysia aims to welcome 1.5 million Indonesian tourists this year and had launched an aggressive campaign. For us, we`ve limited funds to undertake such aggressive promotions, he said.

Of the 1.3 million tourist arrivals to Malaysia in February, Indonesia is in the top 10 market, with 64,045 visitors, he said.

According to Ossie Himawan, Grand Aquila Hotel Senior Public Relations and Communications Manager in Bandung, more Malaysians were expected to visit Bandung with Air Asia`s services to Bandung (West Java) from Kuala Lumpur since April.

I foresee a higher demand for hotel rooms. Previously, everybody went to Jakarta, now they can fly straight to Bandung, she said. Grand Aquila is one of the five-star hotels in Bandung.

Another area being promoted is Lampung. Ahmad Alwi Siregar, Tourism, Culture, Promotion and Investment Office (West Lampung Regency) Head Officer, said although not many Malaysians visited this area, he expects more would do so in future to savour the eco-tourism attractions.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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