Tourism Minister Arief Yahya says Indonesia's tourism industry must cooperate closer to ward off tough competition from regional rivals, such as Thailand and Malaysia, for tourists from around the world. (SP Photo/Ruht Semiono)

Cooperation Not an Option, but Necessity for Indonesia's Tourism Industry: Minister

APRIL 02, 2017

Jakarta. Tourism Ministry officials and local government representatives held a two-day national coordination meeting at the Borobudur Hotel in South Jakarta last week to discuss ways to make Indonesia's tourism sector more competitive.

"Harmonizing and synergizing [the industry] is not an option, but a necessity, because every industry is a unified ecosystem. None can stand alone; it cannot grow strong if it stands alone," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya told participants during the meeting that started on Thursday (30/03).

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who also oversees the Tourism Ministry, attended the meeting with the theme "Indonesia Incorporated: Synergies for Better Tourism Connectivity," along with top local government officials, including governors and mayors. Representatives from various tourism industry associations also attended.

Arief said the tourism sector needs joint efforts to grow, similar to the way a symphony orchestra produces a beautiful melody when everyone plays their instruments together.

"When the cello is played, the violin, piano, flute, clarinet and others are played [...] A great composer can create everlasting masterpieces, like the music created by Beethoven, Mozart, Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert, Chopin, Giuseppe Verdi and others," he said.

He said the tourism sector also needs synchronizing, as there are many subsectors within it, including amenities, hotels, resorts, restaurants, cafés, spas and others. There are also supporting sectors such as airlines, car rental companies, tour-bus operators, cruise ships and more.

"All, if well-orchestrated, will develop faster. This is where we need to push for the spirit of Indonesia Incorporated," he said.

Arief shared with participants what he learned from the Kellogg School of Management, when he was chief executive of the country's biggest telecommunication company, Telekomunikasi Indonesia.

He said the school taught him that the sources of energy for a corporation to level up its game is to improve scale, scope and human resources skills.

He reminded all stakeholders in the sector that Indonesia faces tough competition from regional rivals, such as Thailand and Malaysia, for tourists from around the world.

"We have to create a common enemy. [...] The goal is to make us solid in beating our rivals together," said the former chief executive, who won the Marketer of the Year award from local marketing agency MarkPlus in 2013.