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Source: The Jakarta Post
By Hans David Tampubolon
Some tourism companies in the nation say they have started to feel the pinch of the economic crisis in Europe as the number of inbound tourists from the continent has continued to decline since last year.
The head of Panorama Destination, a subsidiary of the nation’s largest tourism and travel company, Panorama Groups, said that the firm served 107,212 foreign tourists in 2011, down 7.9 per cent from 116,419 tourists in 2010.
“The crisis in Europe continues and they have not seen signs of recovery, which has affected the tourism industry and the performance of our company,” Panorama Groups CEO Budi Tirtawisata told reporters in Jakarta yesterday on the sidelines of the company’s shareholders meeting.
Almost 90 per cent of the tourists who used the firm’s services were European, Budi said, and there had been a decline in the firm’s number of customers from its traditional markets of the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Switzerland.
According to corporate secretary Achmad Sufyani, decreased demand might continue this year, given that Europe would be hosting two world-class sports events: the Olympic Games and the Euro 2012 soccer championship. “”The events will make Europeans stay in their home countries because they want to feel the atmosphere of the events,” Achmad said.
According to Panorama Destination, the company booked 254.1 billion rupiah (US$27.19 million) in revenues in 2011, a 4.1 per cent decrease from 265.53 billion rupiah ($28 million) in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Travel Network’s representative in Jakarta, Silvia Sutanto, said the company had recorded a similar downward trend.
Silvia attributed the decrease to a reduced number of customers from European nations, declining to provide specific figures. “I hope the economic conditions in Europe will recover soon, because it is a potential market for our tourism industry,” she said.
During the economic downturn, both companies said that they would refocus their market in Asia.
Panorama, for instance, has plans to open a marketing office in Beijing, China, in September to attract more tourists from China, and also plans to launch expanded marketing campaigns in Malaysia, Singapore, India, Iran and several nations in the Middle East.
“We have also been actively taking part in international tourism events such as the Internationale Tourisme Bourse in Berlin, the World Travel Market in London, the Arabian Travel Mart in Dubai and the Asean Tourism Forum to attract more tourists,” Budi said.
Even though the European market has been sluggish, the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia last year and in the first quarter of 2012 has continued to grow.
The number of foreign tourists who visited the nation grew 9.24 per cent, from 7 million in 2010 to 7.65 million throughout 2011, according to the Central Statistics Agency.
The figure grew 11.01 per cent to 1.9 million for the first quarter of this year, up from 1.71 million in the same period last year.
The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has set a target to attract 8 million tourists this year.
Contacted separately, the chairman of Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies Asnawi Bahar acknowledged that the association’s eight members that focus their market in Europe saw a decline in tourists from the continent.
But he predicted that the number of tourists from Europe would keep decreasing in the next few years.
“Thus, travel agencies have to find new market to help boost their tourism business such as Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and South Asia,” he told the Post.