The Tourism Ministry has set a target of attracting 1.5 million tourists from Australia throughout this year.
Various promotional efforts have been conducted to lure Australians to the archipelago since early 2019, including by participating at the Flight Center World Travel Expo in Australian cities from Feb. 2 to 17, according to the ministry’s marketing development deputy assistant for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, Edy Wardoyo, in a statement on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com.
“In 2018, we faced many natural disasters, however, Indonesia was still able to attract 1.3 million Australian tourists. This year we are targeting to welcome 1.5 million [Australian tourists] out of the 20 million foreign visitors in 2019,” said Edy.
Indonesia promoted various destinations during the Flight Center World Travel Expo held in four Australian cities, namely Sydney Feb. 2 to 3, Melbourne Feb. 9 to 10, Perth Feb. 9 to 10 and Brisbane Feb. 16 to 17.
“Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane are the four biggest contributors of Australian tourists to Indonesia. Hence we continue to work on these four main markets, aside from other cities like Darwin, Hobart and Adelaide,” added Edy.
With an economic growth rate of 5.17 % per annum and the population undergoing a demographic bonus, Indonesia is predicted to be amongst the world’s top five economies in 2030. But currently, Australia exercises a much stronger economic relationship with Papua New Guinea than Indonesia. Out of 50,000 exporters in Australia, only 2,500 conduct trade with Indonesia. Watts commented that “today would be the perfect time to contribute more to Indonesia, otherwise Australia will miss out”.
As Indonesia’s economy continues to grow and its population swells, the relationship with Australia is becoming more and more asymmetric. From the Australian perspective, it presents some opportunities but, as a counterbalance, Indonesia may be seeking to engage more closely with other, larger, powers in the region.
Given the popularity of Bali for Australian holidaymakers, Australia may be seen more as a solid, reliable market, rather than a priority for the Indonesian tourism industry. Even so, it still holds great significance in the overall bilateral relationship. In a previous Strategic Analysis Paper, tourism was identified as the most important aspect of the Australia-Indonesia economic relationship, from the perspective of Jakarta.
That still holds true when using the updated estimates, which show tourism to be the largest source of revenue for Jakarta when looking at the top three Indonesian goods and services exports to Australia. Additionally, tourism has generally proven to be a more reliable source of income when other exports have slowed due to decreasing demand or falling prices. That may, however, say more about the lack of diversity in the economic relationship than the strength of the Australian tourism market.