The International Finance Corporation or IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has committed to invest up to $300 million in companies engaged in tourism-related sectors in Indonesia, a top executive told DEALSTREETASIA on Wednesday. The commitment figure is set for the fiscal year July 2019-June 2020.
“We target to have $300 million for our pipeline, which we want to invest in the companies. We cannot disclose the name of the companies yet, but they mostly operate to develop a tourism business in Indonesia,” IFC country manager for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Timor Leste Azzam Khan said.
IFC also approved a $10-million loan package for Singapore-headquartered boutique river cruise company Aqua Expeditions for its Indonesia expansion. Founded in 2007, Aqua Expeditions operates soft-adventure cruises in emerging market destinations. It currently operates two boats – cruising across Cambodian Mekong and Peruvian Amazon rivers. The company will use the debt package to add another boat, offering coastal luxury cruise service in the eastern part of Indonesia, such as in Lombok Island (Mandalika), Ambon (Maluku), Raja Ampat (Papua), Maumere (Flores), Komodo Island and Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara) or the so-called ‘ten new Balis’.
The Indonesian government has been actively promoting the ‘ten new Balis’ tourism programme to develop several destinations beyond the most popular tourist Island of Bali. Indonesian tourism could also potentially generate $20 billion in foreign exchange revenue throughout this year, according to the government estimates. Last year, the tourism sector contributed $16.1 billion in foreign exchange revenue.
The 10 new Bali project:
Bali had dominated Indonesia’s tourism industry from as early as the 1900s when Dutch member of parliament, Herr H. Van Kol, arrived as one of its first foreign visitors. He even wrote a book about his experiences, dedicating many of its pages to the province.
However, it isn’t Bali’s unique charm alone that has made tourism in Indonesia a hit. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo set clear benchmarks for the development of tourism, by designing and implementing a strategic and coordinated government plan and effort, coupled with relaxing visa and business restrictions. Since 2016, citizens from up to 169 countries could now enjoy free travel to the nation.
With this in place, the aim to drive growth in tourism was set in motion. At the same time, with the end of visa restriction and a weakened rupiah, Widodo’s goal to attract 20 million tourists by 2019 is not too far off the horizon.