Friday, September 18, 2009

Indonesia bid to end Bali obsession

View original source: Travel Weekly

Indonesian tourism authorities will attempt to end their reliance on Bali by switching the focus of future marketing to destinations beyond the holiday island.

Officials used an industry roadshow in Sydney last night to stress the need for a greater spread of visitors and to reassure the Australian industry it was doing all it could to protect holidaymakers from the threat of terrorism.

Figures revealed that of 418,000 Australians who visited to Indonesia in 2008, more than 320,000 headed to Bali.

“Australians only visit three destinations in Indonesia,” director for international promotion I Gde Pitana told agents and wholesalers. “Bali, Bali and Bali.

“Most Australians do not know Indonesia very well and our aim is to develop destinations beyond Bali,” Pitana said. “There are lots of destinations of no less beauty than Bali.”

Indonesia’s Sydney-based consulate general, H E Sudaryomo Hartosudarmo, even told the gathering that Australia is so Bali-centric that many think it is a country in its own right and are unaware it is part of Indonesia.

Details of any future campaign remain sketchy, as is the budget which Australian representatives will need to grow the market.

But Lombok, Bintan, Komodo Island and Wakatobi are among the destinations that will be more heavily promoted, along with Java which already has some brand value.

Meanwhile, Pitana said Australians have continued to travel to Indonesia despite the Jakarta bombings. Only between 5% and 10% of bookings were cancelled and even then only in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, he said.

Tourists have also become immune to the “persistent” warnings from the Australia Government to reconsider the need to travel to Indonesia.