Indonesia promotes halal destinations in Saudi Arabia

JAKARTA: The Tourism Ministry together with the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh, Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Visit Indonesia Tourism Office (VITO) and Garuda Indonesia recently held a tourism roadshow in three cities in Saudi Arabia, namely Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah.

The five-day sales mission ended on Oct. 25 at the Pullman (Al-Hamra) Ballroom Hotel in Jeddah.

The ministry invited four industry players including tour operators and hotel representatives from the Accor group to the event, which was attended by 173 buyers, media and business people from Jeddah and surrounding area.

“The visit from his majesty king Salman Bin Abdulaziz to Indonesia in March this year was to boost a mutual relationship between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia,” said the Indonesian consul general to Jeddah, Mohamad Hery Saripudin.

Hery said that the king’s visit has changed the perception among Saudi Arabians toward Indonesia, and the other way around.

“We saw not only the increase of people-to-people traffic in our office but also the increase in economic relations,” he added.

According to the ministry’s deputy assistant for Europe, US, Middle East and Africa tourism promotion Nia Niscaya, 80 percent of Middle Eastern tourists who came to Indonesia were from Saudi Arabia.

Nia said that she appreciated the effort done by Indonesian representatives in Saudi Arabia to promote Wonderful Indonesia.

“You are the real ambassadors of Indonesian tourism, you deserve the credit for building the relationship,” said Nia.

Saudi Arabia VITO country manager Mostafa Al Enany did a presentation on Indonesian tourism at the event. There were also presentations from hotel representatives and tour operators.

At the closing event, Nia invited the guests to wear sarung. Participants who wore it the right way would be given vouchers to stay in hotels located in several tourist destinations in Indonesia.

Additionally, the Wonderful Indonesia tourism video that recently took home two awards at United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Video Competition 2017, winning over 63 other tourism videos, was also screened at the event.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya called the Middle Eastern market a potential market as tourists from the region are likely to visit Thailand and Malaysia since these two countries have been very active in developing their halal tourism.

“We have three provinces that boost halal tourism: Lombok, West Sumatra and Aceh. Even though we are a country with the biggest Muslim population, that doesn’t automatically attract travelers from the Middle East, the key is in service as evidenced in Thailand, a country where Islam is not the majority religion yet is the most-visited country by the Middle Eastern tourists,” said Arief. (The Jakarta Post)

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