In the last 3 consecutive years, the number of international inbound tourist in Indonesia was increasing: 6,8 millions (2009), 7 millions (2010), and 7,6 millions (2011). The number is projected will be still growing for the upcoming years. This year, in January to May 2012, tourism in Indonesia even shows excellent results, indicating that Indonesia tourism continues to grow well with a growth rate of 8.8% (1). That is beyond the growth projection of Asia & the Pacific (4-6%), and even more than twice if comparing to the average of world’s tourism growth projected by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which is only 3-4% (2).
In Indonesia, beauty is simply everywhere, starting from under and above the water, pristine culture to the buzz of metropolitan city of Jakarta and around. Without a doubt, by saying we comprise more than 17,500 islands, with over 700 local tribes & 400 local languages, we can simply agree to Lonely Planet writer that saying “It is everything for everyone, a choose-your-own-travel destination…”. (3) Historically strong, we have Borobudur as one of the biggest Buddhist Temple Compounds in the world, Prambanan Hindus Temple for its incomparable beauty, and other numerous reminiscences of dated period (4).
Nowadays, Indonesia yet becomes a choice destination for seekers of the outdoors, water sports, gastronomic delights, and spa (5). Bali itself still currently becomes the main destination in Indonesia. It is, even much more popular than the country it belongs. People visit and re-visit Bali more and more not only because of its white sandy beaches, sun and sunbathing activities, lake, river, paddy fields and so forth. People would love to come and re-visit Bali because it has more than just natural charms. The reason why Bali can be magical destination for tourist is because of the lifestyle of indulgent Balinese people, with its eclectic culture, and arts. Like no other, it strongly holds idyllic character: tropical island, Hindu & Bali are prettily inseparable as a whole.
So does Bali, other Indonesian Islands also have it own characteristics. One of them is Lombok, the one that we choose as our pilot project in spreading our wings to hospitality and tourism industry. Here, unlike Bali which has well-developed, filled with bunch of tourists annually, Lombok offers more natural yet quiet tropical ambiance. As sister island of Bali, less number of high-end quality resorts & hotels, growing number of business & leisure travelers, and government’s support in developing Lombok as a new main destination outside Bali make this emerging travel destination worth for a new business development.
There’s still other opportunity offered by tourism in Indonesia. Along with the government, authorities are now attempting to develop a new tourism segment by developing a “retirement” concept for experienced “gray” traveler. It’s a concept which trying to accommodate a relatively mature and experienced community to not only travel in a longer period of stay (up to 6 months), but also to both experience and explore the existing culture and locality of the destination area. They can stay in villa, and will be accompanied by nurse, driver, and maid (6). Seven villages in Bali are currently being developed for receiving this new tourism concept and to be thriving retirement destinations (7).
It is a strong and potential market for Bali, but unlike in Thailand, this new market previously has not been facilitated in serious manner by the government & private sectors. The development of such concept will not damage the existing tourism market. Moreover, it will increase the employment opportunities. In Thailand, it’s estimated that the daily spending of the gray tourist is around USD 75-100. Seeing the amount, the spending level might seen lower than the “common” tourist. But by considering longer period of stay, the amount of the profit can be greater than the income gained from ordinary tourists (8).
(1) Tourism Minister Confident of Tourism Prospects 2012 [http://travelbuck.net/read/2234/tourism-minister-confident-of-tourism-prospects-2012-2012/, accessed: 10 October 2012]
(2) International tourism: projection full year 2012, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 2012.
(3) Lonely Planet Indonesia, on “Getting Started” [http://www.lonelyplanet.com/shop_pickandmix/free_chapters/indonesia-9-getting-started.pdf, accessed: 10 October 2012]
(4) UNESCO. Borobudur Temple Compounds. [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/592, accessed: 10 October 2012]
(5) Visa Survey: Indonesia Faces Bright Tourism Prospects. [http://indonesia.travel/en/news/detail/596/visa-survey-indonesia-faces-bright-tourism-prospects, accessed: 10 October 2012]
(6) Bali Discovery Tours. Bali Tourism Expert Underlines Potential of Senior Citizen Travel to Bali. [http://www.balidiscovery.com/messages/message.asp?ID=8696, accessed: 10 October 2012]
(7) Bali Discovery Tours. Bali Appoints Special Authority to Deal with Retirees. [http://www.balidiscovery.com/messages/message.asp?ID=8693, accessed: 10 October 2012].