ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indonesian tourism firms seek Asean visa
The Jakarta-based association, comprising 1,700 members nationwide, considers the single market of 650 million people in 2015 as a business opportunity for all in the tourism industry. Despite similar tourism products, the countries will not be rivals. In fact, foreign tourists will come not only to one country, but also to others at the same time.
Besides such travellers flowing across the region itself, there will be big markets such as China with 1.3 billion people and India with more than 1 billion, providing plenty of opportunities for the AEC market.
Bagus Sudibya, the association's president, said on 26 July at the monthly meeting of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) that members should plan for a joint operation, especially for a single Asean visa.
The government should push the initiative ahead as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have recently collaborated to launch their own single visa.
Indonesia eyeing Thailand
Bagus is looking for ways to improve ties in the tourism industry with Thailand.
It's likely he will ask his government to spare a portion of its promotional budget to promote Indonesia here.
The country sets aside an annual budget of US$65 million (2 billion baht) to market it in key source countries including Singapore, Malaysia, China and Japan.
In Indonesia, tourism ranks as the fourth-largest contributor to gross domestic product, with $8 billion in revenue last year. About 12 million Indonesians take overseas trips and their number will increase dramatically, thanks largely to GDP growth of 5-7 per cent per year in the past decade.
Also, the middle-income group is growing and should reach 20-25 per cent of the 225-million population.
Sisdivachr Cheewarattana-porn, ATTA's president, said Indonesia was a big market for Thai tourism.
The government should go on a roadshow to this market to promote the country and more man-made tourism attractions should be constructed.
About 40,000 Indonesians come to Thailand annually, though some data released by Thai agencies put that number as high as 300,000.
Arrivals remain small because of a lack of a promotional campaign and local-language tour guides.
About 20,000 Thais travel to Indonesia per year, mainly to Bali.
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