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Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has appointed Hong Kong action superstar Jackie Chan as Indonesia’s tourism ambassador to China to further increase the number of Chinese tourists traveling to the archipelago.
Deputy tourism and creative economy minister Sapta Nirwandar said on Thursday that the government decided to choose Chan because of the actor’s popularity.
“Jackie Chan is the most popular movie star in Asia, especially in Hong Kong. Therefore, we’ve agreed that his appointment will help boost Indonesia’s popularity among Chinese travelers,” Sapta told The Jakarta Post.
Sapta said the ministry did not allocate a specific budget for his appointment as it was an honorary title.
“We will invite him to attend our promotional events, but we did not allocate any specific budget for his appointment,” he said.
“We have previously conferred a similar honorary title to Hollywood star Richard Gere, who is our (tourism) ambassador to the United States,” he continued.
Starting out as a stuntman, Chan has maintained his status as one of the biggest movie stars in the world with a number of box-office hits, including Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon.
According to the ministry’s director for overseas promotion, Nia Niscaya, Chan would be officially appointed as an ambassador during the China International Travelmart event in Guangzhou, China on Aug 30.
Chan is scheduled to attend the event and sing the famous “Bengawan Solo” song in front of a Chinese audience, kompas.com reported.
According to data from the ministry, the annual number of tourist arrivals from China last year increased by 10.3 per cent to around 750,000 from around 680,000 in 2012.
Sapta said the government expected to see more than 1 million tourists from China by the end of this year.
“With the programs we have initiated, we aim to record over 1 million Chinese tourists this year,” Sapta said.
In November last year, the ministry launched an Indonesia-China Tourism Year initiative to boost traveller numbers from the world’s second-largest economy.
Through this initiative, the ministry launched a Mandarin language website, cn.indonesia.travel, and collaborated with local tourism agencies in China to attract more Chinese travelers.
Data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) showed that because of an increasing number of direct flights from China, the number of travellers from China during the first four months of this year had exceeded that from Australia, which for years had been ranked third after Singapore and Malaysia.
The data showed that 324,344 tourists from China visited Indonesia from January to April, which is more than the 316,122 visitors from Australia.
In that same period, the number of visitors from Singapore and Malaysia was 463,924 and 413,504 respectively.
Despite the increasing number of tourists from China, the China Tourism Academy reported that Chinese tourists considered Indonesia one of the most unsatisfying destinations due to infrastructure issues.
Indonesia was ranked 20th out of 22 destinations in the Chinese outbound tourism satisfaction index for the first quarter of this year, slightly above Vietnam, which sits at the bottom of the list.