Jakarta. Indonesia's Tourism Ministry organized a sales mission to Shanghai and Chengdu in China on May 22-25 to attract more Chinese tourists to Indonesia.
The ministry's deputy for foreign marketing I Gde Pitana said they took along ten businessmen from Jakarta, Bali, Yogyakarta and Surabaya on the trip, which they dubbed the "Sales Mission Greater China 2017."
Flag career Garuda Indonesia representatives in Shanghai helped out to arrange meetings with dozens of Chinese travel agents interested in tour deals in Indonesia.
Pitana said he hoped the sales mission will help to attract even more Chinese tourists to Indonesia this year. Last year, almost 1.5 million Chinese tourists visited Indonesia.
Ten New Balis
The ministry's assistant deputy for Asia Pacific market development Vinsensius Jemadu said the ministry's mini tour to Shanghai and Chengdu was earmarked to promote ten new priority tourist destinations the ministry calls the "Ten New Balis."
"Bali is still our number one tourist destination. But we have many other attractive destinations all over the country, including these Ten New Balis," Vinsensius said in a statement on Monday (29/05).
The Ten New Balis are Morotai, Tanjung Kelayang, Tanjung Lesung, Borobudur, Lake Toba, the Thousand Islands, Mt. Bromo, Mt. Semeru, Mandalika and Wakatobi.
Tourists from Greater China
Attracting more tourists from "Greater China" — China, Taiwan and Hong Kong — is one of the Tourism Ministry's priority targets in 2017.
The ministry officially targets 2,453,000 visitors from Greater China, with China alone making up 2,037,000 of that total. Until March, a total of 525,035 tourists from China have already visited Indonesia.
Pitana said the ministry has partnered with Baidu — the Chinese Google — for its "Wonderful Indonesia" marketing campaign in China. Baidu currently has over 300 million users.
"We've also partnered with the number one travel app in China, Qunar, to help Chinese travelers find information on flights, accommodation and holiday packages in Indonesia," Pitana said.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said Indonesia will have to compete with the rest of the world to win over the Chinese market — the largest in the world.
"More than 120 million Chinese travelers fly out of their country each year. They are also going more and more digital, 70 percent of Chinese travelers look, book and pay for flights and accommodations using digital [services]," Arief said.
Arief pointed out that tourists from China tend to spend a lot during their travels overseas. The average spending of Chinese tourists is $1,057 per person during a visit.
"Chinese tourists love beaches, and we have plenty of those. More and more of them also do a lot of shopping when they travel," Arief said.
Arief said the ministry had asked Sriwijaya Air and Garuda Indonesia to add more direct flights from China to Indonesia.
"Garuda should add more direct flights to and from China. Seven secondary cities in China still use chartered flights to travel to Indonesia. It would be better if scheduled flights are available," he said.