Indonesia welcomes Pakistani investors, says Dy Minister

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We primarily focus on developing 10 Tourism Priority Destinations in this period by optimizing accessibility, attraction, and amenities (3A) in the prioritized areas: Ni Made Ayu Marthini Deputy Minister for Marketing

INTERVIEW

Ansar M Bhatti

in Bali

BALI, INDONESIA:  Ni Made Ayu Marthini Deputy Minister for Marketing Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia has said Indonesia welcomes Pakistani investors to come here and explore various business avenues as her country offered huge potential, especially in the tourism sector.

She added,’ we are seeing an opportunity in the common characteristic of Indonesia with Pakistan, which is similar in having a majority of the Muslim population’.

Mrs. Ni Made Ayu Marthini expressed these views while giving an exclusive interview to the Pakistan media delegation, which is currently in Bali as part of the Indonesian government’s FAMTRIP program. The visit is jointly organized by the Indonesian embassy in Islamabad and the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.

While replying to a question about investment opportunities in Indonesia she said, Indonesia is the world’s most sought after tourist destination and let me put it like this that tourism is in fact the jewel in the crown of Indonesia. We would like to promote this and I’m so glad that journalists from Pakistan are here today to see for themselves that what progress Indonesia has made in this sector.

She said investment is a big part of the success of tourism that is why we are whole-heartedly working to fetch more and more foreign investments including from Pakistan. Let me tell you that there are a lot of opportunities for the Pakistani investors because the trajectory of growth that we see is very high.

She said Indonesia had an open policy to make it easy for investors to come and explore business opportunities.

“I hope one day we see more and more Pakistani investors come to Indonesia and be part of an innovative growth story. Let me emphasize again, we have to be adaptive. We have to be innovative. And lastly, we have to be collaborative and work together with everybody to achieve happiness. We are eying 8.5 million tourists this year and I am glad to share with you that 3.2 million tourists have visited already. So we’re quite happy and I believe everyone is very optimistic about future prospects.

The minister further said, the media plays a vital role in promoting the two countries’ potential, and people-to-people contacts especially with the similar characteristics of Indonesia and Pakistan, countries with a majority Muslim population.

‘Generally, Indonesia provides convenient access to mosques and halal foods, the essential needs for Muslims. Having said that, we are confident to promote our Muslem-friendly destinations, with the highlight of our award-winning designated halal destination, Lombok’, she added.

She said they had plenty of destinations to offer to Pakistani tourists, with Moslem-friendly tourism as the cherry on top.

While talking about the scope of tourism in Indonesia she said, according to the National Medium Term Development Plan 2020-2024, the tourism sector has become one of the essential strategies for national economic transformation.

‘We primarily focus on developing 10 Tourism Priority Destinations in this period by optimizing accessibility, attraction, and amenities (3A) in the prioritized areas. In the future, the optimization of 3A is expected to accelerate the value added in the tourism sector’, she said.

The minister said one of her main jobs was to promote Indonesia’s destination to all over the world, and that of course, includes Pakistan. Our promotional activities for the international market include participation in international travel and tourism exhibitions, conducting familiarization trips, arranging sales missions, and joint promotion with potential partners.

To yet another question she said in the era of tourism recovery, we believe the key to tourism strategies are innovation, adaptation and collaboration. For innovation, we attempt to uplift potential destinations in Indonesia, particularly 10 Tourism Priority Destinations. Hence, tourists can have more diverse experiences beyond Bali, which has already become top of mind for popular destinations. The innovation in tourism is expected to absorb more workforce and increase foreign capital in Indonesia.

‘In terms of adaptation, we strive for sustainable recovery. One of the ways is to ease the transaction with various digital payment methods. This benefits not only the tourists but also the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to emerge the cashless methods that offer flexibility’, she further said,

She said, ‘we continuously aim for Penta helix collaboration with academicians, business entities, government (local, national, and foreign government), community, and media’.

Giving an account of new destinations she said, ‘currently, we are highly promoting our 10 Tourism Priority Destinations, namely Lake Toba in North Sumatera, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Mandalika in West Nusa

 Tenggara, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Likupang in North Sulawesi, Tanjung Kelayang in Bangka Belitung, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi, Morotai Island in North Maluku and Raja Ampat in West Papua. The first five aforementioned destinations are designated as Tourism Super Priority Destinations.

In addition, as we understand halal tourism demand as extended service has increased in popularity, we proudly introduce Lombok as the compass for our halal tourism. Located in one of 5 Super Priority Destinations, Lombok provides amazing destinations and simplicity for Moslem Tourists to find mosques and halal foods. Halal services’ excellence has led Lombok to achieve the first rank for the World’s Best Halal Tourism Destination, according to the Global Muslim Travel Index in 2019.

We believe Lombok will be the next popular destination after Bali for Pakistan tourists, she added.

The deputy minister further said, first and foremost, MoTCE continuously adapts to the latest global tourism safety and security standards. By all means, cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability (CHSE) protocol has become the priority for Indonesian tourism.

The safety and comfort of tourists during their visit to Indonesia is our top priority, especially after the pandemic. Therefore, we also keep the utmost efforts to accelerate vaccination for tourism and creative economy workers as they are the “frontliners” of the industry.

Vaccination for tourism workers and implementing CHSE measures are integral to the recovery and growth of the tourism industry. Vaccination protects the health of workers and visitors, instills confidence, and enables the smooth resumption of international travel. CHSE practices prioritize cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental sustainability, enhancing the overall tourism experience and ensuring the well-being of all stakeholders involved.

While replying to yet another question the minister hoped opening of direct flights between Indonesia and Pakistan shall give new impetus to bilateral relations. She said efforts were on from both sides in this regard and hoped a breakthrough shall be achieved sooner rather than later. She called upon the media and the stakeholders of the hospitality industry to play a role once the direct air link is established.

The deputy minister while responding to yet another question said, in Lombok new racing track Circuit Mandalika has been put in place on the pattern of Formula 1. Last year a big racing event took place there, which attracted huge interest and support from all and sundry, especially the sports loving people. Apart from this promotion of cultural linkages with other countries also appears on top of our priority.  Village tourism is yet another area where we have been focusing a lot and you may have witnessed this during your trip as well, she concluded.