The Jakarta Post
A tropical sandy beach at Gili Trawangan. (Shutterstock/File)
As spring approaches in South Korea, the Embassy of Indonesia in Seoul hosted an appreciation and networking night for around 40 prominent figures in the South Korean travel industry, such as the chairman, director and members of the Korea Association of Travel Agents (KATA). Also present at the event were Indonesia’s state-owned-enterprises (SOEs) in South Korea and media representatives, who introduced new tourist destinations.
The appreciation and networking night was held at the ambassador’s residence last week.
The embassy's art and cultural relations official, Purno Widodo, told Antara on Tuesday that the networking event was also attended by representatives of Garuda Indonesia who promote Bali and Lombok. These two destinations have seen a declining number of visitors from Korea.
Although Indonesia is well-known among the Korean people, the number of Korean visitors to Indonesia is not as many as expected. There were 358,349 Korean travelers coming to Indonesia last year, but this number is 10 percent lower than the previous year.
Among the many reasons for the decline are natural disasters, especially those that occurred in Lombok and Bali, the main destinations favored by Korean travelers. One way to convince Korean travelers to return to Indonesia is through the Indonesian embassy’s intensive approach to KATA. The message is to persuade and instill confidence in Korean travel agents to promote and sell tour packages to Indonesia.
Indonesian ambassador to South Korea, Umar Hadi, took the opportunity to express his appreciation for KATA’s donation, made through the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) for natural disaster victims in Central Sulawesi.
“You all have been true friends to Indonesia. We are very thankful for all your efforts to help Indonesia,” said Umar to the president of KATA.
Umar also highlights a few joint efforts to increase the number of Korean tourists coming to Indonesia, such as organizing familiarization trips for leaders of travel agents in 2019, to promote 10 “New Bali” destinations.
President of KATA, Yang Moo Seung, expresses his commitment to help increase tourist visits from Korea to Indonesia and vice versa.
“I realize that Indonesia has great potential in tourism. But the number of visits is still not optimum and in line with the existing potential. Let us work together to make the most of every possibility,” he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, KATA chairman Henry C. Oh Jr. expects there to be more flights to and from popular destinations in both countries.
Another way to attract more visits to Indonesia is by filming Korean reality shows in Indonesia. Youn’s Kitchen, for example, which was aired on South Korean network TVN in early 2017, showed off Gili Trawangan in West Nusa Tenggara. Other shows include Law of the Jungle, which featured Sumatra and Komodo Island, Battle Trip with its Bali show and Running Man, which shows Yogyakarta. (mut)
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