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Singapore-Indonesia tourism cooperation mutually beneficial

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Tourism cooperation between Indonesia and Singapore is mutually beneficial as Singapore is an international transit center for many tourists visiting Indonesia, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.

The government policy of giving visa free travel for visitors from 169 countries would also benefit Singapore with more tourists transiting in that country and Singapore serves as an international transit center for tourist to Riau, Arief cited.

“Indonesia gains from the big traffics in Singapore, therefore, I have decided to cooperate more closely with Singapore in attracting more tourists,” he said.

He said Singapore Industry and Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang said that tourism could serve as an example for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two neighboring countries.

The cooperation in the tourism sector would give “multiplier effect” on economic development of the two countries, Lim added.

Singapore hopes that memorandum of under standing on tourism cooperation and on development of tourist boats could be signed in August.

Arief said 15 million foreign tourists visit Singapore every year and Singapore also send the tourist to Riau Islands to enjoy the natural beauty of the island province.

“That is where we gain from. We are fishing in a fish pond,” he said.

He said 90 percent of foreign visitors to Riau Islands came via Singapore.

He said the the Indonesian Tourism Ministry has been often offered to open a platform freely at the Singapore International Airport to advertise Indonesian tourism objects.

“This is what I mean with strategic cooperation, complementary,” he said.

Indonesia is also bound by the ASEANTA (ASEAN Tourism Association) agreement on joint tourism packages as a destination for all ASEAN countries.

“Cooperation with Singapore, which has higher index of competitiveness, the 11th in the world, would greatly promote the Indonesian popularity which is only the 50th in the world. Therefore, we gain and Singapore also gains,” the minister said.

It is important that the tourism industry of Indonesia enhances its contribution towards the countrys gross domestic product (GDP) because it will trigger more foreign exchange earnings.

Each foreign visitor spends between US$$1,100 and US$1,200 per visit on average, while also providing employment opportunities to the Indonesian people. It is estimated that nearly nine percent of Indonesias total national workforce is employed in the tourism sector.

Currently, Indonesias tourism sector accounts for approximately four percent of the total economy. By 2019, the Indonesian government wants to have doubled this figure to 8 percent of GDP, an ambitious target which implies that within the next four years, the number of visitors needs to double to about 20 million.

In order to achieve this target, the government will focus on improving Indonesia’s infrastructure (including ICT infrastructure), accessibility, health & hygiene as well as enhancing online promotional (marketing) campaigns abroad.

The government has also revised its visa-free access policy.

Source: www.antaranews.com, 1 June 2016