- "Unity in Diversity?" "Celebrating 100 Years of National Awakening?" Won't cut it on CNN. Come up with a simple and memorable country slogan along the lines of "Incredible India" or "Malaysia Truly Asia", and stick with it for longer than a week. My offering is "Imagine Indonesia", with ads featuring scenes and dreams of the archipelago's underpublicized treasures, such as Papua beaches and Ubud mountain retreats.
- Properly fund tourism marketing. Hawaii does it by adding a 7.25 percent tax to each hotel room bill, generating $70 million annually for promotion. Government funding for the Bali Tourism Board is zero. Start here with a 5 percent surcharge, then have an independent oversight agency meticulously monitor where the money goes.
- Do everything possible to attract movie and television projects, particularly from the United States, Japan and Korea. Build a state-of-the-art production studio and rent it cheap to international crews. Provide tax breaks and fast-track government approval. One hit Hollywood movie using Bali as a backdrop, or the on-location filming of a popular Korean TV drama in Yogyakarta be a powerful pull for impressionable viewers bored with Bangkok and the Bahamas. Remember Hawaii Five-O?
- Indonesia is made up of 17,000 islands comprising nearly 2 million square kilometers. It hopes to earn $5 billion from 7 million visitors this year. Hawaii has 8 islands and 16,000 square kilometers. It got 7.3 million tourists last year, earning $12.2 billion. Do the math, and get serious about tourism.
- And build new toilets.
Friday, March 28, 2008
On Dalton Tanonaka
Dalton Tanonaka in The Jakarta Post Weekender suggested several things that Indonesia could be done to increase Indonesian "value" in international community - meaning with respect to tourism:
My comment is could not agree more to Mr. Tanonaka's suggestion. But the problem is, our government and the people mostly could not think as simple as Mr. Tanonaka does. That is why our tourism motto have to be that long words. It was launched by our bureaucrats just to show up that we are - supposed to be- 'great' nation and can speak English. Argh!
And about new toilets? Indonesian mostly make a joke, "Actually, you can use the biggest public toilet in the world. It's our own natural spot such as behind tree, river, or even on the side of the road." So, why you need more toilets then? Argh! (again)