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Indonesia ranks no. 60 at World’s Tourism Competitiveness : Industry must close ranks to raise Indonesia’s Competitiveness

Sunday March 25, 2007

The very first Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report prepared by the World Economic Forum was published with overall results presented in summary at the international travel forum ITB in Berlin on Thursday, March 8, 2007, reports

An exhaustive survey that compared nations in terms of factors that make a country attractive to tourism resulted in a hierarchical ranking of 124 countries. Switzerland, Austria and Germany finished in the top 3 countries for tourism, with Angola, Burundi and Chad occupying the lowest 3 rankings in the list. Also finishing among the top 10 nations (in order of appearance) were Iceland, the U.S.A., Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Luxembourg and the U.K.

Criteria of Competitiveness

In determining how a country stacks up in tourism terms, the World Economic Forum looked at the following factors considered to serve as the drivers of a destination's tourism, these are: (1) policy rules and regulations; (2) environmental regulations; (3) safety and security; (4) health and hygiene; (5) prioritization of travel and tourism;
(6) Air transport infrastructure; (7) ground transport infrastructure; (8) tourism infrastructure; (9) Information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure; (10) price competitiveness; (11) human capital; (12) national tourism perception; (13) and natural and cultural resources.

Relying on publicly available data, observations from Travel & Tourism experts and independent opinion surveys the final results are intended to evaluate the "factors and polices that make it attractive to develop the Travel & Tourism sector in different countries, " reported

Indonesia Ranks  no. 60

While a complete ranking of all 124 countries is available at [World Economic Report Tourism Competitiveness Ranking] some of the more salient rankings include:

• #1 Switzerland • #2 Austria • #3 Germany • #4 Iceland • #5 The United States • #6 Hong Kong SAR • #7 Canada • #8 Singapore • #9 Luxembourg • #10 United Kingdom • #12 France • #13 Australia• #30 Taiwan• #31 Malaysia• #43 Thailand • #60 INDONESIA
• #65 India• #71 People’s Republic of China • #86 Philippines • #88 Vietnam
• #96 Cambodia • #122 Angola • #123 Burundi • #124 Chad

In the same context, the Indonesian government has recently raised the 2007 tourism target from 5.2 million to 6 million international arrivals, this to be increased again to 7 million next year. To boost arrivals, a number of actions are planned, such as the establishment of overseas offices, and increased number of nationals to be accorded Visa on arrival. Yet the industry and a number of government officials have voiced their opinion that these targets would be difficult to reach if these are not supported by increased budgets for tourism advertising and promotion. 
As reported by, the Bali Post quoted  Secretary General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar as saying that his Department had requested a supplemental budget of Rp. 135 billion (approximately US$14.67 million) to promote Indonesian tourism to attain the accelerated target.

Formula for Tourism Promotional Spending

Justifying the request for additional budget, Nirwandar pointed to a World Tourism Organization (WTO) calculation that a minimum spend of US$10 per each foreign tourist was needed for proper promotion. Nirwandar complained that the entire budget for the Department of Culture and Tourism for 2007 stands at Rp. 900 billion (approximately US$97.8 million) only. Although this is an increase from the Rp. 751 billion (approximately US$81.63 million) allocated in 2006, this amount is far from what was requested and yet we still face demands to open overseas travel promotional offices,
to undertake international advertising campaigns and to participate in international travel marts – which all require much more funding," Nirwandar warned.

In this regard, former President Megawati, who chairs the opposition party PDIP, criticized the present government’s performance for dragging its feet, stating that during her presidency, with a meager promotional budget of US$ 3 million, Indonesia could attract 5.4 million tourists, even after the first Bali bombings. And yet now that promotion budget has been increased to US$10 million the expected target in 2007 is only 5.6 million (now raised to 6 million), reported Bisnis Indonesia. 

Criticizing Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik, Megawati said that for Tourism to succeed it needs close coordination among all stakeholders, both among government agencies, the private sector, the mass media and the communities, which at the moment she sees as sorely lacking, reports Hilda Sabri for Bisnis Indonesia.

Meanwhile, from Berlin, where Minister Jero Wacik attended the ITB tourism exchange, the Minister said that Indonesia has already extended Visa on Arrival (VoA) facilities to 52 countries. Unfortunately, this fact is not sufficiently known in the market place.
To achieve the accelerated target of 6 million in 2007, the government plans to add 11 more countries to the VoA list. Another policy will be to allow more foreign airlines to fly to Indonesia, one of which is Qatar Air, who plans to fly direct to Bali.

His Department targets 1.1 million arrivals from Europe, up from around 700,000 last year. At ITB Minister Jero Wacik further plans to meet with agencies who will operate the 12 Promotional Offices that will be reopened by the Government, namely in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States.

Depari: To be Competitive, the Travel Industry must Close Ranks and Unite

Separately, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Depari, the tourism organization whose members comprise travel and tourism associations, Depari Chairman, Sri Mulyono Herlambang, warned all stakeholders that the world today is facing hyper competition in tourism. Therefore, to remain competitive, it is imperative that all stakeholders, both in the private sector and with relevant government agencies, stand united and shore up all efforts, if Indonesia wishes to be reckoned among the global players.