The Indonesia Tour and Travel Agency Association (Asita) has urged the Indonesian government to establish a specific tourism ministry, separate from the creative economy sector, in a bid to make the government focus on the country’s tourism-sector development.

“Tourism is a business, thus it needs its own ministry. Tourism should not be combined with other sectors as it is today,” ASITA North Sumatra branch head Solahuddin Nasution said in Medan as quoted by Antara news agency on Friday.

He said the new Cabinet should further develop tourism as this sector generated a lot of income for the country.

The government should learn from Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, Southeast Asian countries which have successfully developed their tourism sectors. Indonesia’s tourism sector should be more successful than those three Asean countries since the archipelago had an abundance of beautiful tourist attractions, he said.

“Their tourism is better than ours simply because they are serious and focus on developing the sector,” he added.

In addition, economic expert Wahyu Ario Pratomo said that the government should look at tourism as an important sector to help boost the nation’s economy.

“The new Cabinet should install a person who really understands tourism and knows how to market it to the world,” Wahyu said.

He also said the new tourism minister should be able to enhance collaboration with every tourism entrepreneur in the country.

Photo Credit: Tourists watch the sunset from Kuta beach in Indonesia's resort island of Bali February 2, 2010. Murdani Usman / Reuters