Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The House of Representatives passed a new tourism bill into law Wednesday that orders the establishment of an independent board to promote Indonesia's tourism at home and abroad.
The Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board will be responsible for all promotion-related activities, including coordinating promotional works of central and local tourism enterprises.
The 2008 Tourism Bill, initiated by the House, was passed during its plenary session to replace the 1990 Tourism Law.
The "slow and bureaucratic" promotional work by the government -- in this case the Culture and Tourism Ministry -- prompted the idea to establish an independent tourism body.
"The Tourism Promotion Board is an independent body. It will not be under any government institution. It will thus have greater freedom to develop creative ideas and promote Indonesia overseas," United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker Djabaruddin Ahmad told the plenary meeting.
Articles on the tourism board were the main reason the bill was deliberated in the House for almost three years.
Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik told reporters after the plenary session that the private status of the board would allow it to conduct promotional jobs quicker than when it was part of his office's responsibility.
"The government, for instance, has to offer a contract when it wants to create a promotional product. Many consider this process to have slowed down the pace of developing national tourism in the past. As the board is a private institution, it won't have to go through bureaucratic process," he said.
Jero said the board's policy-makers would comprise representatives from associations of airlines, tourism businesses and tourism professions, as well as academics.
The board members would be recruited by the tourism ministry, he said.
The board is expected to start operating under the new Cabinet next year, he said, and will be funded by both the government and the private sector.
Indonesia is expected to receive up to 6.5 million foreign tourists in 2008, contributing US$7.5 billion to the country's reserves.
Article 41 of the 2008 Tourism Law:
(1) The Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board is responsible for:
a. enhancing the image of Indonesia's tourism
b. increasing the number of foreign tourist visits and state revenues
c. increasing the number of domestic tourist visits
d. collecting funds from sources outside state and regional budgets in accordance with the regulations; and
e. conducting research to develop tourism businesses.
(2) The Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board functions as:
a. coordinator of tourism promotional works by both central and regional enterprises
b. working partner of the central and local administrations