Inbound tourism may slow down with beer ban in Indonesia

Published on : Saturday, April 4, 2015

beer ban in IndonesiaIndonesia is adopting friendly policies to woo tourists for some years and indeed the country has received an upsurge in tourist arrival numbers.


The country’s new visa policy will accelerate tourist arrivals by 1m to 1.5m an additional $1.2bn in foreign exchange over the next couple of years. This is based on the arrival numbers recorded in 2014 with 9.4m inbound arrivals and $10bn in revenues.


Bali is the most favourite destination in Indonesia. Tourists like to bask in the beaches with Indonesia’s biggest selling brew, Bintang Beer.


But access to this beer may get tougher now as the government partly at the behest of Islamic groups will be introducing regulations preventing the sale of the beer at small corner shops, convenience stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets and also in bars and restaurants.


This new rule may have an effect on tourism arrivals. With the government’s new policy of visa on arrival for 30 countries over the existing 15, this sudden reserve over selling of beer and restriction on its consumption may have a somewhat detrimental effect on tourism. Indonesia is trying to woo foreign tourists. Visitors from China, Japan, Russia, Korea and those belonging to Western Countries are being drawn to the beauty and tranquility that Indonesia offers.


Tourism has been a strong revenue earner for the country. The Indonesian rupiah was down by 5 per cent in this year compared to 20 percent in last two years.


With strong arrival numbers being recorded from Australia, China and other Asian countries the government hopes to double arrivals to 20m by 2020. A rise in annual growth has been recorded from 12 per cent to 7 per cent. The promising figures from Indonesia are getting the country at par with Malaysia and Thailand in terms of inbound tourism.


Apart from Bali the country hopes to extend its tourism scopes to other destinations like Sumatra, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Papua. Indonesia is a great attraction for marine tourism. In its 20 million target it hopes to attract 4m visitors and $4bn in revenue from Marine Tourism.


In keeping with this plan the state carrier Garuda has expanded its connection to Moluccas and Nusa Tenggara. The carrier has extended to new routes in 2014 in a “pan-Kalimantan” circuit route which connects various points of Indonesian Borneo. Intra-regional circuits have been expanded to Sumatra, Sulawesi and Papua.


There are other hurdles that pose problems to the robust growth of the tourism industry in Indonesia.


The country has to develop on its infrastructure. Maintain and upkeep ecological and cultural attractions. Provide support to various industries and issues related to security and local policies.


Malaysia is an attractive destination drawing more tourists. So if the Indonesian wishes to draw large number of visitors then more attention needs to be given on improving infrastructure and logistic means. Even if new aviation links have come up, without the right infrastructure tourists will not wish to revisit the destination again.


Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan have liberalised their visa regimes. Myanmar had been observing a steady rise in its tourism arrival since 2012.  In 2014 Indonesia received 1.13m tourist owing to its proximity from Thailand.


Domestic tourism in the country is single handedly leading to the country’s economic growth. There has been a remarkable 10 to 15 percent growth in domestic tourism contributing $16bn annually. The country records 250m domestic visitation annually.


Local companies are concentrating more on domestic tourism and providing better hotel booking facilities for domestic tourists.


For 2015 the value of the rupiah is predicted to grow and tourism will be a very strong industry for Indonesia.

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