The Jakarta Post
With more and more Indonesians traveling, including those who have never set foot outside their city or country, tour operators and travel agencies offer convenience for individual or group holidaymakers who have the money but don't have the knowledge, time or patience to plan such excursions. (Shutterstock/kudla)
For experienced travelers, planning a trip on their own offers the most satisfaction as they usually know what they want and how to arrange an itinerary by themselves.
However, with more and more Indonesians traveling, including those who have never set foot outside their city or country, tour operators and travel agencies offer convenience for individual or group holidaymakers who have the money but don't have the knowledge, time or patience to plan such excursions.
As such services are aplenty, from huge travel companies to small-time tour operators that rely on social media marketing, among the challenges faced by today's travelers is choosing an agency that can best suit their needs and preferences. Already have a specific destination or activity in mind? Specialist tour operators may offer interesting options.
"Many of our customers are people who want to travel to Japan but don't want to join other groups or be restrained to a tour schedule," said Josida Chairani Meutia, who manages business development at custom Japan tour agency Toraberu Japan, which operates in Jakarta and Tokyo via a messaging service.
Officially becoming a corporation in February 2017, Toraberu Japan organizes private and fully customized trips to Japan.
"Our team includes people who have stayed in Japan for more than 10 years and have received many inquiries regarding traveling to Japan. Hence, we created this agency to help travelers to make their own itineraries based on their own requests and budget," said Josida, adding that the company was a licensed travel agency in Tokyo and had an office there.
Those interested in the service can start by filling out the online questionnaire, which includes the expected date of the trip, the number of travelers, places they want to visit, their hotel and transportation preferences, whether they want a guide or be self-guided and their maximum budget per person.
"From there, we will formulate the itinerary and travel arrangement, and then send a quotation to the client. Revisions will usually be made following discussions with the client. If all is agreed, we will send them an invoice and the client will need to make a down payment," said Josida.
Those who prefer to be self-guided will be given a PDF e-guide containing detailed daily itineraries, from the destinations, how to reach them, links to maps, train routes, schedules and recommended restaurants, including halal-friendly and non-halal options.
Open to individuals and groups, the majority of the company’s customers are Indonesians, however it has also served clients who hail from other countries like China, the United States, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Slovenia, Denmark, Poland and Switzerland.
"Other than guides, we also provide car rental, Wi-Fi rental, photography, restaurant reservations, ticket purchases, such as for theme parks and concerts, and translator services. We can also help our clients apply for a visa, however we prefer that they purchase their plane tickets on their own as they can get cheaper prices during travel fairs."
Recently obtaining a license from the Tokyo government to cater to Japanese tourists, Josida said the company had plans to offer travel arrangements for Indonesian holidays for Japanese travelers. "We also want to promote study tour arrangements for schools, as well as cater to sports communities that want to participate in sports events such as the Tokyo Marathon, Japanese Odyssey and triathlon events."
Travel consultant and blogger Kenny Santana built his business on a personal passion. Kenny offers custom-made trips via #KartuPosTrip.
"The idea [for #KartuPosTrip] came from my own hobby of watching shows and concerts abroad. I then thought of helping other people who want to watch them too but don't know how," said Kenny via a messaging app.
Kenny has arranged for people to watch Coldplay concerts in Australia, Singapore and Bangkok, Madonna's shows in Singapore and Bangkok, and U2 in London.
"I usually offer trips to concerts or events outside Indonesia. However, I also cater to special requests for trips to less popular shows or events abroad that are also held here," he said, adding that he did not collaborate with a third party and always purchased promo flight tickets to ensure affordable prices.
"Most of my clients are between 25 to 45 years of age and many are repeat customers. Trips to concerts in nearby locations such as Singapore and Bangkok are usually the most popular," said Kenny.
Among the upcoming events he is offering are Aladdin and Cirque du Soleil - Kurios in Singapore, Cursed Child in Melbourne, Australia, and the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada.
In addition to entertainment-inspired trips, Kenny also offers budget-friendly trips to New York, London and Jordan, among other destinations. "I'm also open to custom trips based on requests, but usually the clients choose the existing offer and then add more days or destinations to the trip."
Experience was key, said Kenny, as travelers were increasingly seeking to enjoy something different than merely taking Instagram pictures of destinations. "Today's travelers want to attend events, festivals and concerts [and bring home] memories of those experiences."
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