Ministry warns tourists traveling to Eastern #Indonesia of malaria infection

The Health Ministry has warned the public, especially tourists traveling to the Eastern part of Indonesia, to be cautious about malaria infection in the region.

According to the ministry’s data, malaria is still highly endemic in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua provinces.

The ministry’s director of vector and zoonotic infection disease prevention and control, Vensya Sitohang, said that tourists, especially backpackers, should anticipate and take necessary measurements against the disease. “Avoid going outdoors at night since the anopheles mosquito is more active during that time. If you must travel after dark, apply [mosquito repellent] lotion; and install a mosquito net for when you are sleeping,” she said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Read also: Malaria-proof mosquito? Tool promising but needs more study

For those already bitten, Vensya advised travelers to immediately visit health services and conduct laboratory checks for malaria.

Tourists are also encouraged to take precautions by taking antimalarial medications prior to their trip, which are available for free in health facilities like Puskesmas (community health centers) and hospitals.

NTT and West Papua are currently among the country’s most popular travel destinations with highlights including Raja Ampat and Labuan Bajo.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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Indonesia – Youth organization to help promote tourism in East Java

Generasi Pesona Indonesia (Indonesian Charms Generation) or GenPI is an organization of youth volunteers who aim to promote tourism in their respective localities through social media.

Partnering with the Tourism Ministry, GenPI has established five local chapters across Indonesia.

A sixth to be added to the list is that of East Java, which will make an official debut at the Majapahit Travel Fair 2017 this May.

Read also: Digital promotion to boost tourist arrivals

“Tourism is the future of this nation and allows Indonesia to compete globally,” said the winner of the 2016 Raki Jatim beauty pageant, Tita Oxa Anggrea. “There are plenty of ideas and concepts to promote local tourism that can be implemented via social media.”

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T. Tahmadi, a member of the ministry’s team tasked with speeding up the development of ten priority destinations, noted how the internet impacted the tourism industry. “Everything is becoming digital nowadays, from searching for information to booking hotels. One of the things Lombok did to win the 2016 World Halal Tourism Awards was to conduct promotions through social media; thus, I encourage everyone to post photos and videos of their tourist destinations on social media.”

Source – TheJakartaPost

#Macau promotes multi-destination trips to Indonesian travelers

Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) promoted multi-destination trips to Indonesian travelers through a media session and seminar on Monday.

Held in Jakarta, the event highlighted opportunities for travelers to visit several areas, including Macau, Hong Kong, Guangdong, Guangxi, Pingtan, Qingyuan, Shenzhen, Zhongshan, Zhuhai and Nansha.

The multi-destination trips are designed to attract travelers who want to visit several places in a single trip.

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Hong Kong Tourism Board senior manager trade development for Southeast Asia, Raymond Chan, said that there were many Indonesian travelers visiting Macau and Hong Kong in one journey and sometimes to Shenzhen and China as well, which is one of the reasons why they created the event.

Meanwhile, Betty Fok, MGTO head of destination marketing, said in a press release, “[The event aims] to highlight Macau as the easy connection to Hong Kong and neighboring provinces, such as Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian.”

In regard to visas, Fok explained that Indonesian travelers could enjoy a free visa while traveling to Macau and Hong Kong. As for those wanting to visit Guangdong from Hong Kong, they can use the 144-hour visa facility. However, they will still need to apply for a visa to explore other parts of China, such as Fujian and Guangxi.

#Indonesia – Ministry wants travel agencies to create ‘New Bali’ package tours

The Ministry of Tourism wants travel agents to come up with 10 new package tours that they will call the “New Balis” in order to entice international tourists to visit not only the Island of the Gods but also other places of Indonesia.

As the ministry enters the second year of its three-year business plan for the promotion of tourism outside Bali, the focus has shifted from branding, which was executed last year, to advertising. In 2018, the government aims to reach the selling stage.

“If branding is catching people’s attention, advertising aims to persuade people to come to Indonesia, while selling includes giving discounts and price cuts,’ said Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.

“Both airlines and travel agents need to be creative. Perhaps they can do joint promotions or hard-selling promotions to attract tourists to come to Indonesia,” he added.

The ministry is also hoping that the promotion of less popular destinations will distribute air traffic more evenly, alleviating congestion at the airports serving Bali and Jakarta. “The air connectivity problem is an urgent matter for us, since most tourists come to Indonesia by airplane,” said Hiramsyah Sambudy Thaib, who heads a team at the Tourism Ministry tasked with accelerating the development of new tourism hot spots.

The ten promoted destinations include Solo, Medan and Lombok, all of which have their own airport operating 24 hours a day. Airports that are currently being upgraded to accommodate large planes are Silangit Airport in North Sumatra and Leo Wattimena Airport in North Maluku.

“This is a huge opportunity for both airlines and travel agents. They can reverse the tour offerings from two days in Bali and one day in Lombok, for example, to one day in Bali and two days in Lombok, so that it won’t all be concentrated in Bali,” he added.

Construction work to extend the runway of Silangit Airport is slated to conclude by September. Meanwhile, Leo Wattimena Airport currently can only accommodate ATR 72 planes. An upgrade will enable the airport to accommodate Boeing 737s to attract tourists to Morotai. The runway extension is targeted for completion by June next year.

To support continued growth in air traffic, the government is in a process of deregulation to make it easier for airlines to add more flights to Indonesia.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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#Indonesia – Borobudur Temple among top cultural destinations in 2017#

If you’ve been itching to travel somewhere new this spring, one of the world’s best cultural landmarks might just be in your backyard.

Booking.com found that out of 34,000 international respondents, 66 percent were on the lookout for new travel experiences. To help with your future travels, they compiled their user recommendation data to create a ranking of lesser-known travel destinations.

Specifically aimed at those who are looking to whet their adventurous appetites, Indonesia’s own Borobudur Temple comes in halfway through the list at fifth place. A Buddhist temple located in Central Java, Borobudur has recently been considered an alternative to Bali, especially for those interested in history and culture, while not wanting to battle the crowds.

(Read also: Borobudur temple hosts new monthly dance performance)

Joining Borobudur Temple on the list are destinations such as the Indian city of Jaisalmer, in second place, a city known for its architecture that is located near the Indian-Pakistani border, and the only other Asian destination on the list. A slightly more well-known locale, Australia’s iconic red rock, Uluru, also makes it onto the list, in sixth place.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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Booking.com’s top cultural destinations for travelers:

1. Recanati, Italy

2. Jaisalmer, India

3. Viljandi, Estonia

4. Borobudur, Indonesia

5. Uluru, Australia

6. Barichara, Colombia

7. Vezelay, France

8. Flores, Guatemala

Garuda Indonesia names Ida Fiqriah first female pilot to attain captain’s rank

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has inducted Ida Fiqriah as its first female pilot to reach the rank of captain of Boeing B737-800 NG planes, a narrow body-style aircraft, after she successfully recorded 10,585 flight hours.

It is hoped Ida can later also become the first female pilot captain for wide-body aircraft.

Garuda Indonesia operational director Capt. Novianto Harupratomo personally pinned a Boeing B737-800 Bar Captain rating emblem on Ida in a ceremony on Wednesday.

“It’s not by chance that the induction ceremony coincides with Kartini Day, which will be celebrated across the nation on April 21. This moment clearly shows that Garuda Indonesia gives equal opportunities to anyone who shows top work performance in their profession,” said Novianto in a press statement.

He further said that attaining the position of pilot captain was not easy and took a lot of hard work, adding that Capt. Ida Fiqriah’s achievements had made her an Ibu Kartini of the modern era and it was hoped that her career developments would inspire all women in Indonesia.

Ida has also had the longest career at Garuda of any of the company’s female pilots. She has now flown for Garuda for around 18 years. Her career began in 1999 as a first officer or co-pilot. Graduating from aviation school PLP Curug in Tangerang, Banten, in 1999, Ida has piloted various Garuda Indonesia aircraft, starting with the Boeing B737-300/400/500 series and the wide-body Airbus A330-300/200.

Of Garuda Indonesia’s 1,380 pilots, only 30 of them are women. “We hope the induction of Ida Fiqriah as a pilot captain can motivate all female pilots in this company,” said Novianto.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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Indonesia – Transjakarta increases 2017 target to 185 million passengers

Public transportation provider PT Transportasi Jakarta (Transjakarta) hopes to attract some 185 million passengers this year, or 62 million more than last year’s target, an executive has said.

The company is optimistic that the new target can be reached because in February alone, the number of passengers had increased by 34.4 percent compared to the same month last year, said Transjakarta president director Budi Kaliwono.

“As of February this year, we have served 22.4 million passengers compared to 16.7 million in February 2016,” Budi said as quoted by tempo.co during the celebration of PT Transjakarta’s third anniversary at the Harmoni bus stop in Central Jakarta on Monday.

Budi also promised to keep improving Transjakarta’s services. Passengers can report inconveniences they experience while taking the bus.

“For example, if the air conditioning is not cool enough, passengers only have to report it to get the bus upgraded,” he said.

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Divers clean up Bali reefs

Forty-four divers cleaned up the underwater area around Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa, two of the most popular destinations for snorkeling and watersports in Bali.

The divers from the Nusa Dua Reef Foundation (NDRF), divers associations and watersports operators collected 25 sacks of plastic and other non-organic trash from the area, which is rich in species of coral and fish.

“Non-organic trash is a serious problem that has threatened the health and beauty of the marine ecosystem in Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. They are popular destinations for marine tourism, which heavily relies on the beauty of the coral reefs,” said Pariama Hutasoit of the NDRF on Friday.

Every year, she said, 8 tons of plastic trash ended up in the sea in the area, threatening marine life, harming seabirds, sea mammals and killing fish and coral reefs. The trash was often carried away by currents, polluting beaches and disrupting tourist activities along the coastline.

During the World Ocean Summit in Bali last month, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) declared war on plastic trash in the ocean through its worldwide campaign of #CleanSeas.  The Indonesian government has also made a commitment to reduce plastic trash by 70 percent by 2025.

Since 2014, the NDRF has teamed up with Conrad Bali to clean up underwater areas.

“This time, we are focusing the underwater clean-up on areas around Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. We aim to clear non-organic trash and raise public awareness on the importance of coral reefs and to support the #CleanSeas campaign,” Pariama said.

Source – TheJakartaPost

OPPO launches smartphone designed for lovers of selfies

OPPO Indonesia, the local subsidiary of Chinese smartphone manufacturer OPPO, launched on Tuesday its latest smartphone, the OPPO F3 Plus, which is equipped with an advanced camera to tap into Indonesia’s burgeoning selfie craze.

Suwanto, OPPO Indonesia spokesperson, said the new product featured a dual-front selfie camera with a 120-degree ultra wide angle lens.

It also features a front camera with six folds of lens to avoid distortion of the picture quality.

“It fits for those who love taking selfies with their groups because it provides a wider angle. The lens will automatically change to 120 degrees after it detects three faces joining the selfie,” Suwanto said during the launch of the OPPO F3 Plus.

The product was also launched simultaneously in India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

According to Suwanto, all OPPO smartphone products distributed in Indonesia, including the OPPO F3 Plus, were produced at the company’s factory in Tangerang, Banten, with a production capacity of 500,000 smartphones per month.

The OPPO F3 Plus is available for pre-order until March 31 and will be available in the market on April 1, he added.

As of the third quarter of 2016, OPPO Smartphones had gained 16.7 percent of market share in Indonesia, the second highest after South Korea’s Samsung at 32.2 percent, according to the International Data Corporation.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Editorial: EU policy unjustifiable

Indonesia is now the world’s largest palm oil producer supplying over 26 million tons of palm oil-based products to the global market annually.

We find it mind-boggling trying to understand the European Union’s stubborn policy to maintain the 2013 anti-dumping duties on the importation of Indonesian biodiesel, despite a court ruling last year that annulled the duties. The court ruled last September that Indonesian domestic palm oil prices were not regulated.

The dumping complaint only validates our suspicion that the seemingly endless attacks on palm oil by green NGOs and consumer organizations since the late 1990s have partly been prompted by strong lobbying by the EU vegetable oil industry to weaken the competitiveness of Indonesian palm oil. Hence, the government’s decision to file next week a complaint at the Geneva-based World Trade Organization against the EU anti-dumping duties is imperative.

Palm oil, which now accounts for almost 50 percent of global vegetable oil consumption, has increasingly been leading the market as a result of its high competitiveness. The yield of oil palm trees per hectare is nine times higher than soybeans, five times that of rapeseed and eight times that of sunflowers.

Indonesia is now the world’s largest palm oil producer supplying over 26 million tons of palm oil-based products to the global market annually. In fact, the EU has been one of the largest importers, taking up to 15 percent of Indonesian exports, although the palm oil industry has constantly been the target of international green NGOs and consumer organizations.

Even though significant improvements have been made in the environmental and social and labor management of the industry under the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) scheme, the industry remains stigmatized as a “sinner.” Its latest sin is the alleged dumping practiced by Indonesian biodiesel exporters, which prompted the EU in November 2013 to slap anti-dumping duties of between 8.8 percent and 20.5 percent. Indonesian exports slumped from US$983 million in 2012 to $30 million in 2016 as a result.

The General Court of the EU annulled last September the anti-dumping duties, saying that palm oil prices were not regulated in Indonesia, but the EU Council appealed the decision. Export taxes have indeed been imposed on CPO to move up the raw commodity on the value-added ladder and to enhance the development of biofuels like biodiesel in a bid to curb fossil fuel use and consequently reduce carbon emissions.

As palm oil has developed as one of the biggest nonoil exports from Indonesia and since 40 percent of the estimated 11 million hectares of oil palm estates is owned by smallholders, it is high time for Indonesia and the EU to resolve the social, environmental and economic issues surrounding the industry.

A solution model similar to the supply-chain verification system that is applied to the certification of Indonesian wood-based products under the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing scheme deserves consideration. This scheme audits the entire supply chain from the source of timber to the point of export to ensure social and environmental sustainability.

Sourse – TheJakartaPost