INDONESIA is looking to position Lombok as the next hot holiday destination for Bruneians, with an agreement on direct flights linking the vacation island to Bandar Seri Begawan with Royal Brunei Airlines currently being finalised, Ambassador of Indonesia to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko said.
Dr Sujatmiko made these comments at the ‘Indonesian Tourism Table Top 2018; Mission Bromo Tengger Semeru’ tourism event at the Radisson Hotel in the capital yesterday.
“We made a strong and formal request to our Brunei counterparts and are in discussion with the Bruneian ministries. By having more connections to Indonesia, we create the potential for more residual economic activity. Lombok is located near Bali, and is also now being developed as a halal tourism location. We have lots of mosques there,” the ambassador said.
He said Brunei is a key target market for Indonesia, due to its wealth and the people’s purchasing power, adding that both countries’ shared traits, such as richness in culture, food, language and natural resources that facilitate mutual tourism between the two nations.
“Brunei is in the process of diversifying its economy away from oil and gas, and the Sultanate regards tourism as one of its economy’s major industries. More tourists are coming to Brunei, especially from China, Korea and Japan,” Dr Sujatmiko said.
“This tabletop event actually not only promotes Indonesia to the people of Brunei Darussalam but vice versa as well. Perhaps Brunei could run its own tourism promotions in Indonesia.”
The ambassador added that Indonesia is also looking to connect Pontianak/Balikpapan to Brunei Darussalam via an arrangement with Sri Wijaya Airlines.
“Travelling by land to Brunei would take 26 hours, hence direct flights would improve connectivity and more people will come to your country,” he said.
Dr Sujatmiko pointed out that tourism is an extremely important industry for Indonesia, with the country receiving some 15 million tourists last year alone. This figure is expected to hit 17 million this year and 20 million in 2019.
Meanwhile, Director of International Marketing for Regional II at Indonesian Tourism Sumarni said Indonesia is the third most popular destination among Bruneians.
“In 2016, some 23,000 Bruneian travellers visited Indonesia (or 1.54 per cent of the total number of visitors from ASEAN to Indonesia), mostly by air (58.3 per cent of total visitors), followed by land (41 per cent) and by sea (0.7 per cent),” she said.
“Brunei is one of the most important markets for Indonesia. Indonesia is recording positive growth in visitors from Brunei Darussalam. In this promotion event, we highlight Bromo Tengger Semeru as our theme as it offers natural and cultural beauty.
“The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism sets priority programmes, such as Visit Wonderful Indonesia 2018, a programme that synergises transport service providers, accommodation providers and tourist attractions to offer attractive tourist packages for travellers,” added Sumarni.