Banten Tourism: West Java

With Visit Indonesia Year 2008 just around the corner, Banten tourism industry officials are hoping to secure a piece of the action early through promotional activities being held in several of Jakarta’s malls. Visit Indonesia Year 2008, to be launched on Jan. 1, is expected to attract seven million foreign visitors to Indonesia’s shores, generating some US$6.4 billion.

To achieve this target, the Culture and Tourism Ministry will promote some 100 international events being held across the archipelago next year. One such event is Banten’s Tourism Fun Day, to be held in Anyer in February according to a business news report I read.

To attract domestic tourists to the event, especially from Jakarta, the Banten Tourism and Culture Agency held a two-day Mall-to-Mall road show in the Jakarta City Center (JaCC) between Dec. 8-9.

The road show followed similar promotional activities held last week at Poin Square in South Jakarta.

“We hope to increase the number of tourists visiting from Jakarta by 10 percent this year and another 10 percent next year,” Teddy Rukman, the head of promotional activities at the tourism agency, said.

He said the province was more popular among domestic tourists than foreign tourists.

“In 2006, the number of domestic tourists to visit the province numbered 19.62 million, while foreign visitors numbered around 95,000,” he said.

He said his office saw the need to promote the area more heavily after the 2004 tsunami when there was a dramatic slump in visitors.

In 2005 the number of tourists to visit the area numbered 13 million, down significantly from 18 million visitors in 2004. Teddy said recent volcanic activity at Mount Krakatau had not helped his office’s efforts to attract more tourists.

“Tourism is important as it creates jobs for everyone from tour guides to street vendors,” he said, adding that tourism contributed about 30 percent to the provincial budget.

The recent promotional activities in Jakarta promoted popular cultural activities in Banten, including Barongsai (dragon dance), the Rampak Kendang and Rampak Bedug traditional dances and Debus (a traditional performance in which performers show their strength against fire, glass and other sharp objects).

Travel agents from Banten also offered their services during the road show.

“This way, mall visitors could book hotel rooms and services directly,” Teddy said.

He added that his office planned to continue promoting tourism in Banten next year throughout Jakarta’s five mayoralties.

“We like to promote the area in malls because everybody visits malls and it’s a lot cheaper than advertising at the Jakarta Convention Center.

“If the response to our promotional activities is good, we will send the road show to Lampung and West Java. We will continue to view Jakarta, West Java and Lampung as support markets for tourism in Banten,” he said.

Banten province is considered to be home to no less than 204 tourism destinations, including Ujung Kulon national park, Anyer beach and Baduy village.