"We are a country with an Islamic population - but not an Islamic republic", clarifies Fauzi Bowo, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia in Germany. At the beginning of his speech today at ITB Berlin 2017, he indicated the importance of values such as freedom of expression and the press, tolerance, democracy, and solidarity in the fight against terrorism. Because if visitor numbers are to almost double from 12 million (2016) to 20 million by 2019, it cannot be done without Europe, which, at 15%, is next to China and Singapore as the island state's largest source markets.
The still ambitious growth strategy, however, stands on a far more comprehensive foundation: "The government wants to put three key levers in motion," says Deputy Tourism Minister I Gde Pitana. With Tourism Exchange Indonesia (TXI), a new digital supplier platform for tourist service providers, offerings are to be more visible globally and more readily available. The promotion of 10 top destinations and the development of five-star homestays (accommodation in buildings of traditional design) could make a difference. Not least, the government wants to make the island kingdom easier to reach: 15 new international airports should be added to the current 39 by 2019. The existing infrastructure will be modernised and extended.
Lastly, and importantly, the country wants to score further with biodiversity and cultural highlights. The trade show presence this year is dedicated to the "blue economy" – the underwater world. The international arts festival Europalia will be hosted from 10 October 2017 to 21 January 2018. A strong foundation for achieving the objective: to make tourism, above oil, coal, and palm oil, the most important economic sector.
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