Indonesia tourism set to recover

Indonesia’s tourism should start to
show signs of “definite improvement” by the second half of 2006, according to World
Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli.
“Support to Indonesia is part of our mission for international solidarity
in times of crises,” was the message Mr. Frangialli took to President H.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as he praised the government for the positive and
timely actions taken to counteract the “series of shocks” that had severely
hit tourism to the country in the last few years.

“Indonesia was not able to join in the success of other Asian destinations
which achieved an average seven per cent growth in 2005, and the first half
of 2006 will continue to be a difficult period for the tourism industry,”
said Mr Frangialli.

But tourism did not collapse even with these repeated shocks, as crises
continued to become an accepted part of tourism life. “The situation is
encouraging and will definitely improve in the second half of the year. One
year on from the tsunami, the future of tourism for Indonesia looks as
bright and promising as before.”

The president, in his reply, emphasized the need to promote international
tourism and committed his country to work with UNWTO in achieving the UN
Millennium Development Goals, while Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero
Wacik told him the country was pushing ahead with a promotional campaign in
key markets such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The Secretary-General arrived in Indonesia ahead of a UNWTO International
Conference on Cultural Tourism and Local Communities, part of the
Organization’s recovery support programme for the country, being staged in
Yogyakarta from 8-10 February.

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UNWTO’s first major event in the Asia-Pacific region this year, the
conference has attracted more than 300 participants from 29 countries and
various international organizations, to discuss leading issues such as how
to develop tourism products for historical sites and the potential of
cultural tourism to benefit local communities.

“Poverty alleviation in the developing world is one of the foremost issues
of our time,” Mr Frangialli said at the opening ceremony. “As a specialized
agency of the United Nations, the UNWTO is committed to assisting the
international community towards the achievement of the UN Millennium
Development Goals, in particular the reduction of extreme poverty.”

Cultural tourism could contribute significantly to this objective,
especially in cities like Yogyakarta with its “world-class tourist
attractions”.
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