Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Republic of Indonesia Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno Visits Singapore
Minister Engages with Tourism Industry Players in Singapore
(Singapore 30 September 2022) Though Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Republic of Indonesia Mr Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, came to Singapore to make a presentation to people in tourism it seemed he came here to learn what was on their minds. When he sat down for a question answer session with Sulaiman Shehdek, Country Manager VITO Singapore Office, (seated below left) he turned the tables – asking the questions before he answered any.
The Minister began his presentation, as he likes to do, with a poem. As one hadn’t been prepared for him, he made one up off the top of his head: “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Singapore Tourism People, I love you.” The enthusiastic applause indicated the feeling was mutual.
The Minister began by reminiscing about his time in Singapore, 30 years ago, when he worked here for some time. “I rented a place in Lucky Plaza,” he shared. “My salary wasn’t that much.” While he didn’t say that his income has improved somewhat, it was assumed it has.
He then moved on to his prepared speech. “After a couple of very challenging years for the tourism industry around the world,” he continued, “Indonesia has gradually emerged from the post-pandemic crisis and finally reopened its borders for international visitors.
“Tourism trend post-pandemic will be customized, personalized, localized, and smaller in size. Previously we emphasized sun, sea, and sand. Now we add to that, “Serenity, Spirituality and Sustainability.”
While there is big picture tourism, there are many details that have to be taken care of. “We are currently managing strategic issues related to border policy, market sentiment, changing behaviour, destination readiness on Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environmental Sustainability (CHSE), as well as quality, inclusive and sustainable tourism development.
As UNWTO notes that tourism visitor numbers are only at 60% of pre-pandemic levels, the Minister states, “Various efforts have been made to speed up tourism recovery, including the relaxation of travel restrictions and policies, such as:
- lifting the PCR entry test requirement for international travellers who prove to be asymptomatic on arrival
- no quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers
- the re-activation of Visa on Arrival (VoA) for 86 countries
While in the past Wonderful Indonesia has focussed on ’10 New Balis’ and the ‘Creative Economy’ the Ministry is adding a new mission. “Our new focus is the ‘Tourism Village’, that can offer special experiences for tourists as it provides them with full experiences of culture, nature, and social interactions with villagers.”
Though the cruise industry was hit hard early in the pandemic, it has bounced back. Minister Uno states that Indonesia has been one of the favourite destinations for cruise ships, with Bali ranks number one on the most popular destinations within the country.
Pre Covid-19, the number of cruise passengers to Indonesia has increased every year, this proves that cruises are quite attractive to foreign tourist for them to visit Indonesia. After two years of no cruise ships arriving in Indonesia, for the first time, cruise re-opened on September 17, 2022, which is good news for cruise stakeholders to start preparing the port and destination in order to receive cruise ships.
Another development coming out of the pandemic is the advent of countries welcoming Digital Nomads – those people who can do their job anywhere in the world from their laptop. They are attractive visitors because they will contribute to the economy without taking a job from a local. “We are also developing Digital Nomad Tourism, to attract travellers who stay longer and spend more. Supporting regulations are being adjusted to ease and induce it. Currently digital nomad tourists may use the visa for socio-cultural purposes (B211) which is eligible for all countries. This visa is valid for 60 days/2 months (cost IDR 1.5 million) and can be extended up to a maximum total of 180 days / 6 months (cost IDR 6 million).”
Singapore has long been an important market for visitors to Indonesia. “The latest tourist arrival data shows that Singapore occupies the second position after Australia for foreign tourists who came to Indonesia in the period of January-July 2022, with a total of 153,006, and followed by Malaysia, India and the USA.,” the Minister stated. “International flights to Singapore are many, and as a Southeast Asia hub, Singapore has high potential to bring tourists to Indonesia, in extension of their stay or holiday in Singapore.”
Master of Ceremonies Aris Latiff
Minister Uno brought the focus back to the people in the room: “Through this gathering today, we hope to re-engage with the stakeholders here in Singapore by conveying the latest information about Indonesia on the policies about the rising number of countries that are eligible for VoA and visa that applies for nomad tourism, about the tourism villages and also the cruise development.
“We have had formulated several main marketing campaigns for our international markets, that is: #WonderfulJourney and #ItstimeforBali plus other destinations. We hope tourists can explore the new endless worry-free journey in Indonesia. The same friendly, beautiful wonderful Indonesia, with new experiences that it has always been.”
After the meeting had ended he spent a great deal of time chatting with people. It was evident that he wasn’t in Singapore simply to pass on information but to engage with people, understand their needs and what they thought the Ministry could do to improve the tourism experience.
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