ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indonesia to woo more visitors from India
Indonesia is to participate in a major Indian major cultural festival in New Delhi in an attempt to seduce the growing middle-class in the South Asian nation into visiting the archipelago.
The three-day festival, organized by international spiritualist NGO The Art of Living, will last from March 11 to 13. As one of the biggest stages in the world, it will attract around 3.5 million participants from around the globe. It is expected that more than 36,000 artists will come to demonstrate their musical skills; thousands of them will play 50 different musical instruments at the same time to create an alluring rhythm and harmony.
“We hope the World Culture Festival can encourage better understanding between people of different religions, nationalities and backgrounds by exposing their diverse cultures, dancing, music, arts and also yoga,” Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of Art of Living, said in a press release.
To take part in the major event, 27 professional Indonesian dancers from iKreasindo, a cultural angklung workshop, will work with 80 artists from the Art of Living to present a joint angklung and dance performance entitled “Cendrawasih Menebar Pesona,” accompanied by the traditional Betawi folk song “Jali-Jali”.
The government hopes that through this performance, Indonesia will be able to expose its culture to the world and attract more foreign tourists, especially Indians, to Indonesia.
Home to the world’s second-largest population, India ranks 7th on the list of major markets for Indonesian tourism.
In 2015, the number of Indian tourists coming to the archipelago rose to 271,252, a 15 percent increase from the previous year. This year, the Tourism Ministry expects at least 350,000 Indian tourists to visit popular destinations such as Bali, Jakarta and Batam.
The lack of direct flights, however, hampers the flows of tourists from India to Indonesia.
“We are now depending on Malindo Air and Singapore Airlines, because there still aren’t any direct flights from India to Indonesia. With Garuda opening direct flights in August, we expect more Indians tourists to come to Indonesia,” said Vinsensius Jemadu, the director of Asia-Pasific Tourism Promotions.
This August, Garuda Indonesia is to launch direct flights from Jakarta to Mumbai; the flights will run three times a week. Besides Garuda, the Tourism Ministry also plans to work together with AirAsia to begin direct flights from India to Indonesia.
Another government effort to increase the number of foreign tourists from India is to promote Indonesia’s tourist destinations by organizing a visit of media, tour operators, hoteliers and wedding organizers to major cities in India including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Calcutta and Hyderabad.
Besides India, the government is also striving to lure visitors from other countries, especially Singapore, Malaysia, China, Australia and Japan, in order to reach its target of hosting 12 million foreign tourists in 2016 and 20 million in 2019.
The ministry recorded 9.73 million foreign tourist arrivals last year, short of the 10 million target, with the sector disrupted by haze and volcanic eruptions for a good part of the year.
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