The Australian government has said there will be repercussions to protest Indonesia's execution of the former's citizens, Andrew Chan (center) and Myuran Sukumaran (left), who have been convicted of drug trafficking. (Antara Photo/Nyoman Budhiana)

Ministers Shrug Off Prospect of Australian Tourist Boycott


FEBRUARY 16, 2015

Bogor, West Java. The Indonesian government appears to be nonchalant about Australian threats of repercussions in protest of President Joko Widodo's decision to proceed with the execution of two Australian nationals convicted of drug trafficking.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Monday that he was confident that Australians would continue to visit Indonesia.

"Tourism is a people-to-people business, not government-to-government. It's like if two parents were arguing with each other, the kids would still play together anyway," Arief said at the Bogor Palace.

The number of Australian tourists coming to Indonesia has not declined since the squabble over the executions started, the minister said.

"There have been one million tourists from Australia [last year]. We are targeting 1.2 million this year," Arief added.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi looks similarly unconcerned.

"I don't know how the Australian government intends to prevent its people from going to a place. How would they do it? The people decide for themselves where to go for holiday," she said. "We understand the Australians' concern but they have to understand our policy as well. I think the Australian people will be wise on deciding their holiday destination."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Channel Ten on Sunday that "Millions of Australians are feeling sickened by what might be about to happen in Indonesia,” Agence France-Presse reported. “If these executions go ahead, and I hope they don’t, we will certainly be finding ways to make our displeasure felt.”