Ministry sets target

The Familiarisation Trip Oceania participants at Bukit Merese Hill in Lombok. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia is targeting 5000 Fijian visitor arrivals for this year alone.

Head of the section for marketing development for Oceania, Indian Muncar said the Familiarisation Trip Oceania was one of the programs implemented that would help the ministry meet their target. “We have a very optimistic target for the overall visitor arrivals,” Mr Muncar said.

“This year we are targeting 20 million visitor arrivals. We have several FamTrip, especially for the media. Why media? Well, because as a country, we are very vulnerable to natural disasters so how could we cope with that situation? We try to inform the media so people know there are prepared programs if anything happens in Indonesia. It’s important for you people to come here to see our culture, destinations and tourism development.”

Two years ago, Mr Muncar said when Mount Agung erupted, people couldn’t go home.

“People stayed here and we paid for their hotels and meals,” he said.

“We have ways to cope with this these kinds of situations – that’s why we need the media to inform people that Indonesia is very safe and secured in terms of situations like this.”

Mr Muncar said in 2018, the realisation of their visitor arrivals was around 15 million.

“The target for 2018 was 17 million but there were only 15 million tourists – that’s not a lot compared to our competitors Singapore, Bangkok, Thailand and Malaysia,” he said.

“We don’t have any MOU between Fiji especially in tourism and in the near future we expect one so we could invite Fijians to come to Indonesia. Indonesia is not only a good country to shop but we also have other destinations and adventure places like beaches and our cultures.”

Part of the Familiarisation Trip Oceania was spent at the unique Puri Mas Boutique Resorts & Spa in Lombok. General manager Sara Sanders said it was wonderful that some people from Fiji have come to visit in Lombok and the resort.

“There are similarities between Fiji and Lombok but it’s a little bit more different in Bali,” Mrs Sanders said.

“Remember that Fiji and Australasia are part of Lombok. We have a lot of similarities, between us.

And between us and Bali, there is a Lombok straight which is dividing Asia and Australasia, so between us all, we are part of Oceania and this is wonderful.

So I hope the Fijian people would come and visit us in Lombok and enjoy the hospitality from Puri Mas.”

Puri Mas is a very small boutique resort owned by a private owner, Marcel De Rijk.

He is a ballroom and Latin dancer and has encouraged dancing to take part in the resort – part of the charity he runs and also all of the staff learn to dance.

“If you come here you will see them doing traditional dancing, stick fighting in Lombok and also you will see our youngsters doing Latin ball dance,” said she said.

“The major attraction in Puri Mas is the staff. Apart from us being one of the most traditional hotels where you will see Indonesia. The minute you will walk into our property you will see Indonesia but it’s the friendly warmth of our staff, a little bit like in Fiji but of course very different culture – it’s much more colourful I would say in Lombok.”

She adds the Indonesian government has made a start by introducing the Familiarisation Trip Oceania program for a media trip to Lombok.

“I hope you would go home and tell everybody what a great island you’ve discovered in Lombok. I know that you’re going to Bali as well – I’m sure most Fijians know about Bali but they don’t realise there are 17,000 islands in Indonesia and Lombok is one of the main attractions.”

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