ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Travel fair aims to draw 120,000 visitors
National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia will kick off the biannual Garuda Travel Fair (GATF), the nation’s largest travel trade show, early next month, with the aim of drawing in 120,000 visitors and booking Rp 245 billion (US$18.87 million) in total sales.
It will be the first time that the GATF — a cooperation with state lender Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) — is simultaneously held in eight cities across the country on April 3-5 in Bandung, Jakarta, Makassar, Pontianak, Semarang, Surakarta, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.
The event will continue in eight other cities on April 10-12, namely Banjarmasin, Batam, Biak, Denpasar, Manado, Medan, Pekanbaru and Jayapura. The second period of the travel fair is scheduled to begin in September.
“Through the travel fair, we also aim to introduce our new domestic destinations and services such as Nias, Sabang, Meulaboh, Lhoksumauwe and Langgur — which are famous for their natural beauty and marine potential,” Garuda Indonesia commercial director Handayani told a press briefing on Monday
Around 45 travel agents, six hotels and four national tourist organizations will participate in the event.
Sales are expected to increase by 8.8 percent from Rp 225.17 billion in 2014 with the number of visitors forecast to rise by 6 percent from Rp 113,251 last year, as Garuda will offer a 13 percent discount for domestic destinations and a 20 percent price cut for international destinations.
The firm will also offer the “Best Deal” promotion, allowing visitors to find a variety of great deals on domestic and international tickets.
The “Happy Hour” program will also be on offer during the event from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day, when visitors can get up to an 80 percent discount on international routes, for example Jakarta-Tokyo for $488 and Jakarta-London for only $981.
In addition to more affordable prices offered during the fair, BNI will offer perks for customers who buy travel packages using its bank accounts.
“We expect to see around 20 percent of transactions using BNI cards at the GATF this year, an increase of 40 percent from last year,” Handayani said.
Both GATF events are expected to contribute up to 30 percent of Garuda’s total sales this year, helping improve the airline’s financial performance, she added.
As reported earlier, the flag carrier booked a $373 million net loss in 2014 — worsening from a $11.2 million net profit in 2013 — as foreign exchange losses and rising costs squeezed its revenues.
The airline, however, saw a positive financial performance in the first two months of this year, with the company posting a $1.2 million profit in February versus a $77.4 million loss in the same period last year, as the number of passengers grew 10.8 percent to 1.72 million during the month.
In January, passenger growth reached 15.1 percent year-on-year to 1.87 million, albeit booking a $2.8 million loss in the first month of 2015.
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