Minister Arief Yahya (left) and Poly Purser from John Hardy Jewelry at the Bali and Beyond Travel Fair in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Saturday (10/06). (Photo Courtesy of Bali and Beyond Travel Fair)

Tourism Minister Optimistic About Bali's Potential as Global Economic and Travel Hub

BY :LISA SIREGAR

JUNE 10, 2017

Denpasar. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, speaking at the Bali and Beyond Travel Fair in Nusa Dusa on Saturday (10/06), announced plans to transform the holiday island of Bali into a regional financial hub that can help spur investment into other tourism destinations across the archipelago.

"Bali already has a very strong branding in terms of tourism [...] it is the central hub for visitors to Indonesia. Now, it is time to remake the island as a financial hub that can serve to be a place for trading and investment across the archipelago," Arief said.

With more than 200 buyers from at least 55 countries attending this year's travel fair, the event is the biggest business-to-business travel expo in Indonesian history.

More than 179 local sellers are attending the exhibition, while the South Korea Tourism Organization is the only foreign agency to reserve its own pavilion.

The minister said the travel fair is a good opportunity to be one of the largest of its kind in the world, citing Germany-based ITB Berlin show as a main competitor. This year, ITB Berlin hosted more than 1,000 buyers and 160,000 participants.

"Bali Travel Fair must turn itself into a global marketplace. We are competing with countries, not just other cities or islands. We need to look to other countries for examples, like Singapore, Malaysia or Qatar, because they have good strategies to promote tourism," Arief said.

"If Bali could open up to international players, there would be a lot more opportunities here."

The travel fair's committee chairman, Ketut Ardana, said next year's event is expected to be even bigger.

"It is a new event and it is only our fourth time. We're quite sure that this event will become bigger. We will invite international sellers and turn it as a marketplace."

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