Tue, 04 Feb 2003

Tourism board, Garuda team up

Arya Abhiseka, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

With uncertainty clouding the tourist industry following the Oct. 12 Bali bombings, the Indonesian Cultural and Tourism Board and flag-ship carrier Garuda Indonesia signed an agreement on Monday to promote tourism in the country.

The two will coordinate and cooperate on various promotional activities, such as making TV and radio commercials, establishing research and development programs, and developing ad campaigns for cultural and tourist attractions.

The chairman of the tourism board, Setyanto P. Santoso, said on Monday that instead of showing Mr. Bean comedy videos, Garuda would now show videos of Indonesia's tourist attractions on its flights. The videos will be provided by the tourism board.

"Many tourists are still unfamiliar with places like Ujung Kulon and Wakatobi. We would like to cooperate with Garuda in promoting other tourist destinations besides Bali," he said.

He also said that the tourism board had allocated some US$15 million for promotional purposes.

Last October, the resort island of Bali was rocked by terrorist bombs that killed nearly 200 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Since the attack, the tourist sector has suffered a major slump. The number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia last year was 4.09 million, a drop from 4.19 million in 2001.