Jakarta. The government held a national tourism coordination meeting at Hotel Borobudur in Central Jakarta on Friday (30/03) to address air traffic congestion in the country as the part of efforts to boost foreign tourist arrivals.
"There are three main priorities for the Ministry of Tourism: to implement village homestay tourism, digitalization with Go Digital and improve air connectivity," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.
He added that the implementation of Go Digital has been ongoing for about a year since it started during last year's coordination meeting. There are 6,000 companies and agencies in the tourism industry so far participating in the digital platform, dubbed Indonesia Tourism Exchange.
"Currently, at least 70 percent of travelers are using digital platforms, which have put 50 percent of offline travel agents out of business. We provide the Indonesia Tourism Exchange to give these offline agencies the opportunity to enter the digital domain," Arief said.
At least 500 participants, including the ministers of related sectors, chief executives of state-controlled firms, regional heads, tourism associations, academics and the media, are participating in the meeting with the theme: "Indonesia Incorporated: for Better Tourism Connectivity."
Arief said air connectivity is the most crucial issue in the discussion as nearly 80 percent of foreign tourists arrive in the country by air. The main problem is that the seating capacity is very limited and must be resolved quickly.
"The president has set a target of about 20 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2019 and we must find a way to achieve this target," Arief said. He added that the government seeks to attract 15 million foreign tourists by the end of the year.
However, Arief said he is still grateful that other ministries and related institutions are very supportive of tourism initiatives. He said his ministry will cooperate with the Ministry of Transportation, airlines, navigation service provider AirNav and state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura to achieve the 2017 goal.
Japan is seen as a successful benchmark for improving air connectivity, Arief said, citing a study by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Aside from air connectivity, land and sea connectivity are also under the spotlight. The is government currently gearing up to build massive infrastructure to support the country's top 10 priority destinations beyond Bali, including Lake Toba; Tanjung Kelayang; Tanjung Lesung; Thousand Islands; Borobudur Temple; Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park; Mandalika; Labuan Bajo; Wakatobi; and Morotai.