JAPAN has begun working the ground in Indonesia ahead of the debut of its local office and will be engaging the travel trade to encourage more arrivals from South-east Asia's most populous nation.
The Indonesian market remains ripe with potential for Japan, with visitor numbers reaching 50,300 in the first five months of 2013, a robust 47.9 per cent year-on-year increase. In contrast, Malaysia and Thailand sent 61,700 and 181,300 travellers respectively during the same period.
“Last year, we received about 100,000 arrivals from Indonesia, and our target for 2013 is 160,000,” shared Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Singapore’s director, Ryo Ito, who is soon to be seconded to Indonesia to be a part of operations there.
Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily last week, Ito said that Indonesian travel consultants were keen to learn from their Singapore counterparts in packaging itineraries to Japan that went beyond the ‘Golden Route’ of Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto.
Such tours were “very rare” in the Indonesian travel scene, but demand from repeat visitors who wanted to know about new destinations was driving this new push, he added.
Said Ito: “We will hold Japan travel seminars and business meetings with sellers from Japan in three cities – Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan. In addition, we will invite Indonesian travel agencies on fam trips to Japan and the Visit Japan Travel Mart. These activities are to encourage them to make new tours to Japan, not only the so-called ‘Golden Route’ between Tokyo and Osaka.”
Furthermore, JNTO is stepping up participation at travel fairs in Jakarta for an enhanced presence. “This March we took part in the ASTINDO Fair (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 10, 2013), and next year we will participate as well. This year, we will be joining the Garuda Indonesia Travel Fair for the first time,” commented Ito.
He also said that the NTO would hold a consumer fair alongside the first sumo tournament to be held in Jakarta this August.
While the first target of choice was the Indonesian Chinese market, Ito said: “As there are more Muslim travellers now, we have to look after them as well,” he added, pointing out that JNTO had already rolled out a Muslim guidebook on Japan in Malaysia (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 19, 2013).
But quizzed when the JNTO Indonesia office would open, Ito could only reveal that it was likely to take place within the year.