Jakarta. The Ministry of Tourism has been adopting a more aggressive marketing approach this year to attract foreign tourists, with the first ever International Tourism Table Top in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar on July 10-14.
"Southeast Asia has an increasing economic growth, with various countries we can target. Around 40 percent of tourists to Indonesia are from the Southeast Asian region," I Gde Pitana, deputy for foreign tourism development at the Tourism Ministry, said in a statement on Friday (14/07).
The International Tourism Table Top was intended to provide information on Indonesian tourism to participating Cambodian travel agents. Although Cambodia and Indonesia face obstacles, such as a lack of direct flights, the archipelago can still be promoted as a tourism destination in the regional neighbor, Pitana said.
"We start from the table top before directly promoting it to customers. They [travel agents] can influence their clients," Pitana said.
Nine travel agents from Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bali and Lombok met with 39 Cambodian counterparts. The business meeting was in the form of a round robin, where sellers met buyers, so that all parties could be accommodated.
The program is one of the efforts to tap the market potential of Cambodia, aside from the main markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
"They are interested in visiting all destinations in Indonesia, because they were not aware [of it before]. It will also benefit us," Pitana added.
The meeting also featured traditional dishes and dances, to support the Wonderful Indonesia promotion campaign's "Explore Further" tagline as an invitation for tourists to explore the natural beauty, unique arts and handicrafts, music, gastronomic richness and the 10 prioritized destinations dubbed the "New Balis."
Rizki Handayani, assistant deputy for Southeast Asia at the Tourism Ministry, added that although the Cambodian market is not as large as other markets in the region, tourists from the country have high purchasing power, with more of them visiting Indonesia annually.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has established a monthly target to monitor the progress in achieving marketing targets.
These targets should be monitored, studied and analyzed consistently to support the ministry in adjusting the strategy to changes in a fast-moving market.
Arief previously said he would lobby partners from Cambodia and Myanmar to establish direct flights to Indonesia, specifically to cities such as Solo, Central Java.
"Why Central Java? Cambodia and Indonesia have cultural similarities, such as a shared Buddhist heritage. While there is Angkor Wat in Cambodia, we have Borobudur Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the world," the minister said.