Strong bilateral ties, cultural similarities with Pakistan can promote tourism, trade: Indonesian Deputy Minister

ISLAMABAD-Indonesian Deputy Minister for Tourism and Economic Creativity, Ni Made Ayu Marthini, has said that Indonesia and Pakistan have strong bilateral relations and cultural similarities, providing tremendous opportunities for both countries to promote bilateral tourism, mutual trade and ensure investment opportunities in the hoteling sectors.
Talking to APP in an exclusive interview after the inauguration of the Bali Beyond Travel Fair (BBTF) in Bali on Thursday, she said there are multiple common characteristics culturally and religiously between Indonesia and Pakistan that can help enhance people-to-people exchanges as both countries have the majority of Muslim populations. Regarding connectivity between the two countries, the deputy minister said that direct air flights are essential to promote bilateral tourism between Indonesia and Pakistan. She added that both countries are working on starting the flights soon, which ultimately enhances our people-to-people relations. 
She further stated that tourists from Pakistan have multiple opportunities and plenty of destinations. Indonesia provides convenient access to mosques and halal foods, which taste similar to Pakistan’s cuisine, an essential need for Muslims. 
 She added that Lombok would be the next popular destination for Pakistani tourists because of its natural beauty after Bali.
Talking about investment opportunities in the tourism sector, the deputy minister said that investment is a big part of the success of tourism. In Indonesia, “we have created nine special economic zones including in Bali, to promote tourism investments, and inviting investors from all over the world as well as Pakistan,” she added. 
She also hoped that more Pakistanis investors would come and be part of innovation growth. She maintained that the media is vital in promoting the tourism economy between the two countries.
Informing the total number of tourists in a year, she said in 2022, Indonesia has a target of 4.7 million tourists, receiving more than  5.4 million. This year, Indonesia set a target to have 8.5 million international tourists.
Talking about beaches in Bali and Lombok, she said several beaches in Indonesia are categorized as the most beautiful beaches in the world. She said Senggigi Beach in Lombok, Kuta Beach in Bali, and Bunaken Beach in Manado are famous beaches in Indonesia. 
Answering a query about the scope of tourism in Indonesia, the deputy minister for tourism said that according to the National Medium Term Development Plan 2020-2024, the tourism sector has become one of the essential strategies for national economic transformation. 
Explaining friendly tourism policies and facilities for international tourists, she said that Indonesia believes 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. 
In terms of adaptation, one of the ways is to ease the transaction with various digital payment methods, which benefits the tourists and the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to emerge the cashless methods that offer flexibility. Moreover, Indonesia is enhancing collaboration with academicians, business entities, government (local, national, and foreign government), community, and media. 
Moreover, currently, Indonesia is promoting 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 destinations above are designated as Tourism Super Priority Destinations. 
While highlighting the safety measures for foreign tourists, the Deputy Minister said that 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.

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