Indonesia planning to attract Middle Eastern tourists to Bali

Indonesia planning to attract Middle Eastern tourists to Bali
Indonesia’s most popular destination is Bali. (Supplied)
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Updated 23 August 2022

Indonesia planning to attract Middle Eastern tourists to Bali

Indonesia planning to attract Middle Eastern tourists to Bali
  • Goal of 100,000 Emirati visitors in 2023, says diplomat
  • $369m forex inflows in 2019 from region’s travelers

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s officials and travel industry players have set their sights on visitors from the Middle East, with efforts underway to attract more arrivals from the region.

The country, which closed its borders to international tourists for almost two years to curb the spread of COVID-19, has already scrapped most travel restrictions and allowed quarantine-free entry for fully vaccinated travelers.

As foreign tourists slowly make their way back to the Southeast Asian archipelago nation — with more than 345,000 international visitors in June according to Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy data — officials are working to attract more tourists.

From the Middle East, over 263,000 tourists arrived in Indonesia in 2019, before the pandemic, contributing more than $369 million in foreign currency inflows.

Husin Bagis, Indonesia’s ambassador to the UAE, told Arab News that he has set an ambitious target for 2023.

“Hopefully next year, my target is to attract 100,000 tourists from the UAE,” Bagis said, adding that the Indonesian embassy in Abu Dhabi has been working around the clock to achieve this.

“We have been all-out with our efforts,” Bagis said. “If you hold a UAE passport, you can get a visa on arrival, there’s no issue.”

Other visitors from Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait, are also eligible for visas on arrival.

Indonesia’s most popular destination, Bali, usually gets heavy promotion, Bagis said, as he hoped the holiday island could serve as an entry point to other parts of the archipelago such as the nearby island of Lombok.

“We will optimize the role of Bali,” he added.

Travel industry players are also eyeing the arrival of Middle Eastern visitors.

“It’s a potential market,” I.G.N. Rai Suryawijaya, who heads the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association’s chapter in Bali’s Badung regency, told Arab News.

He said many travelers from the Middle East choose to stay at hotels in Nusa Dua, a resort area located in Badung.

“Tourists from the Middle East are also upper middle class, and they stay in five-star and four-star hotels, that’s what we have been seeing, and they have good spending power,” Suryawijaya said.

“We are doing all sorts of collaborations in promotional efforts so that more travelers from the Middle East will come to Bali.”