Indonesia Missing Hindu Tourists From India
India is a potential market for Indonesian tourism, especially in Bali, yet the country has never been a main target for promotions, an observer said.
Bali’s senior tourism observer Bagus Sudibya said on Wednesday that on one hand only a few travel agencies had started putting India on their list. Meanwhile, on the other hand, the government’s promotion to India was very low, and it did not put sufficient effort into establishing direct flights connecting the two nations.
“Airlines have direct flights to and from countries further away, such as China. The same should be done with India, to boost the people’s interest to visit Indonesia,” he said.
Bagus, who recently joined the India Travel Mart event, said that the largest democratic country had one billion people and was enjoying sustainable economic growth in almost every sector.
Bagus also cited the increase of India’s per capita income — which had resulted in a significant addition to its middle class — as a reason for making India a target. At least 20 percent of Indians took foreign trips every year, he said.
Bali, besides being a main tourist attraction, is relatively close in distance to India as compared to European countries, increasing the potential for the island to become a holiday destination for Indians.
Furthermore, Bali has a bond with India: both are rich in Hindu culture. The province is home to Hindu heritage and places of worship, making India more relevant for promotions.
Bagus went on saying that many Indian tourists also held wedding ceremonies or honeymoons in Bali.
“Most of them come with big budgets, especially when traveling with their families,” he said.
“I’ve handled several Indian weddings in Bali and they come with their extended family. The parties were grandiose. Some others chose to come for a honeymoon,” he added.
Bagus said that Indian tourists had a daily spend of around US$150 per day, excluding visits to tourism destinations and entertainment, such as rafting and water sports.
Bali Tourism Agency head Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu has said that India would be a target for the province’s tourism promotions. However, he said the lack of direct flights connecting India and Indonesia, Bali in particular, was a barrier.
“India is indeed an emerging market for Bali, we should work harder for tourism promotions there, involving all stakeholders,” he said.
Indian tourists to Bali from January to July this year reached 37,253, up 37.12 percent on the same period last year. The figure contributed 2.08 percent to the overall number of visitors, which had reached more than 1.79 million tourists.
As for 2012, as many as 46,632 Indian tourists went to Bali, or around 1.61 percent of the total incoming foreign tourists of in excess of 2.89 million people.
India, according to Bagus Sudibya, could be an example for developing special interest tourism, especially with its renowned spiritual attractions.
India is also focusing on expanding its adventure tourism to its mountainous northeastern regions that border Tibet and China — without significantly altering the environmental condition in the area.
He added that tourists visiting the developing destination were relatively affluent, as they were able to pay a minimum $200 to spend a night there. Moreover, visitors had to use helicopters to move around the attraction.
“India is quite aggressive in inviting travel agents and other tourism enterprises to visit and directly witness its attractiveness — especially countries that become its main hubs to other regions, such as Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia,” he stated.