Dialogue Series VI on Tourism & Travel-Related Services: A Shifting Paradigm to Improve Quality of Tourism Services in Indonesia

Jakarta, 10 February 2016

Dialogue Series VI on Tourism & Travel-Related Services: A Shifting Paradigm to Improve Quality of Tourism Services in Indonesia

Jakarta, February 10th 2016. Tourism and travel-related sectors are Indonesia’s backbones in today’s economy. From around 10.4 million foreign tourists who visited Indonesia in 2015, the Government increase the annual target into 20 million in next few years. It is strongly recommended for the Government to simplify regulation and allocate more budget for promoting new tourism objects. In the same time, providers in the industry should definitely prepare to improve their capacities.

In response to the ongoing target, Indonesia Services Dialogue held the Dialogue Series VI on Tourism & Travel-Related Services featuring speakers and panelists from various backgrounds. In the presentation session, ISD invites Iqbal Alan Abdullah (Chairman of Indonesia Congress & Convention Association), Umberto Cadamuro (Chief Operating Officer Pacto Ltd.), Farchan Noor Rachman (National Travel Blogger), and Johanes Chang from External Relations Department of Indonesian E-Commerce Association (idEA) to provide evidence-based insights about practices in various areas of tourism industry.

In the panel session, Ratna Suranti (Director, Office of the Deputy for International Marketing, Ministry of Tourism RI), Erwin Situmorang (Acting Technical Director of Customs, Ministry of Finance RI), and Christina L. Rudatin (Academician of Politeknik Negeri Jakarta) act as panelists. The Dialogue Series is officially opened by Raty Ning, President Director PT. Pacto & ISD Board of Founders.

“In September 2016, Indonesia will host World Tourism Exhibition. This event will attract at least 200,000 foreign tourists and be exposed by hundreds of national and international media. I think this year is the right moment to boost our tourism sector. We should be optimistic to fulfill the Government’s target of 20 million foreign tourists,” said Raty Ning in her welcoming remarks.

On another side of the coin, tourism sector must admit that the implementation of ASEAN Economic Community also brings particular challenges. Before considering challenges from neighbor countries, fixing internal homework is apparently a task to complete.

“Following the ASEAN Economic Community, there are several challenges faced by Indonesian tourism sector. Amongst them are quality of services by services provider, lack of qualified human resources, lack of certification for profession in tourism, and infrastructure obstacles such as transportation, port, and communication,” emphasized Sutrisno Iwantono, Head of Non-Star Hotel Department, Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), in the Keynote Speech.

The most ideal position the Government could take is supporting national key players to make the best use of local potentials. Otherwise, there would be a setback for growth.

“Last year, due to the Government regulation that did not allow Government agency to held a meeting in hotel, hotel industry was affected. Therefore, PHRI wants to collaborate and build synergy with the regulator and other services providers such as restaurant, travel agency, souvenir shop, and online provider in order to increase occupancy rates,” added Sutrisno Iwantono.

Tourism industry is essentially diverse. To connect various stakeholders, support of state-of-the-art technology should be incorporated since the trend of mobile devices users’ is growing over times. Besides, embracing technology would prevent key players from being overwhelmed by their competitors.

“Amongst many sub-sectors in tourism industry, Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Event (MICE) industry is less vulnerable to economic uncertainty. But, technological advancement is an inevitable phenomenon. Mobile applications should be developed to help the industry keeping on track with customer behavior,” said Iqbal Alan Abdullah.

“That’s why our main task in idEA is to change people’s paradigm about technology,” mentioned Johanes Chang.

From the Government side, it is clear that President Jokowi-VP Kalla Administration consider tourism sector as the leading sector to maintain growth. Fact shows that the Government has prioritized ten more tourism objects to be promoted this year. They are Toba Lake (North Sumatera), Tanjung Layang (Belitung), Tanjung Lesung (Banten), Pulau Seribu (DKI Jakarta), Borobudur Temple (Central Java), Bromo (East Java), Malerita (Lombok), Komodo Island (Labuan Bajo), Wakatobi (North Sulawesi), and Morotai (North Maluku).

“Over the history of Indonesia, tourism sector has never been a top priority. Today, our Government put a spotlight on this sector. The number of 20 million foreign tourists in next few years, even in 2016, is our purpose,” mentioned Ratna Suranti.

Regarding the task above, Indonesian tourism sector must prepare and implement capacity-building program to improve human resources. Only by doing this way, national key players could survive and support the Government to pursue the so-called national interest.

“Human resources in tourism sector is everything. It is forecasted that in 2024, 1 of 10 jobs will be in tourism sector. Meanwhile, barrier for foreign workers, at least in ASEAN context, is almost zero. The Government, especially Minister of Higher Education, must consider certification to increase competitiveness of our national workers,” noted Christina L. Rudatin.