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Action needed to lure 10 million Chinese tourists to Indonesia

Shì shí shèng yú xióng biàn (actions speak louder than words), according to the Chinese proverb and more action is what Indonesia needs to realize its ambitious goal to attract 10 million tourists from the world’s second-largest economy by 2019.

The latest data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) show that even though there was a 25 percent annual increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia in 2016, the increase only resulted in 1.43 million tourists, falling short of the original target of welcoming 1.7 million Chinese tourists last year.

In addition to the Chinese tourists, the total number of tourists also fell short of its 12 million goal, standing at 11.5 million only.

With the latest result, the tourist industry under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has until now attracted 3.6 million Chinese tourists, making the 10 million benchmark difficult to achieve.

Indonesia must carry out extra efforts to lure more than 2 million Chinese tourists every year for the next three years, while at the same time, neighboring countries are also eyeing a bigger slice of the pie of the outbound Chinese tourist figure, which stands at more than 120 million globally per year.

The Tourism Ministry’s AsiaPacific promotions director, Vinsensius Jemadu, said the problem was mostly related to a lack of flight access from China to Indonesian cities, beyond Denpasar in Bali and Jakarta, even though the visa requirement had been scrapped in 2015.

“Our competitor, Thailand, can welcome 8 to 9 million Chinese tourists per year. Imagine, there are airlines that can connect 15 cities in China and Thailand,” he said on Thursday.

Thailand is indeed a very attractive destination in Southeast Asia for Chinese tourists. Thailand welcomed 8.87 million Chinese tourists last year, an increase of 12 percent from 2015, dominating Thailand’s list of foreign tourists.

The Thai government expects to see 9 million Chinese visitors this year, boosting its tourist industry, which already accounts for 11 percent of Thailand’s US$395 billion gross domestic product (GDP).

Meanwhile, Singapore and Vietnam welcomed more than 2 million Chinese tourists last year.

In Indonesia, most of the airlines connecting Chinese cities and Indonesia are charter flights. The government plans to work with more airlines this year to provide wider access.

“We can increase promotion, but if they don’t know how to get here, it will be very hard. Even when we promote in the secondary and tertiary cities in China, they still need to go to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, which costs a lot. So they go to Thailand, Malaysia,” Vinsensius added.

With 80 percent of foreign tourists arriving in Indonesia by air transportation, the ministry is gearing up to roll out a stimulus for airlines to open routes to destinations other than Bali and Jakarta.

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) vice chairman for tourism Kosmian Pudjiadi voiced a similar concern, stating that the number of direct flights from China needed to be increased, with connections to at least 25 Chinese cities.

The government expects to welcome 15 million tourists in 2017, with 2.1 million tourists expected from China. Jokowi has signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to attract 10 million tourists from China.

However, funding is also an issue for the ministry, as it faces a lower promotional budget as a result of state budget cuts, forcing it to cancel several sales missions and selling activities in China.

Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani attributed the failure to reach last year’s target to a lack of sales despite heavy promotional efforts.

“Our brand has improved, but to make more people visit, there needs to be actual selling,” he said

Source: TheJakartaPost

Cambodia – Steeper entry at Angkor Wat Temples

Ticket prices for Angkor Wat are scheduled to increase on Wednesday, with industry experts expressing cautious optimism that despite reports showing tourist spending fell last year, the sharp increase in admission fares at the country’s premier tourist attraction would not deter foreigners from visiting Cambodia.

Starting on Wednesday, foreign visitors to the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province will need to fork out almost twice as much for one-day passes, which are set to increase to $37, from $20. Three-day passes will rise to $62, from $40, while week-long passes will cost $72, up from $60.

The higher admission fares, first announced last August, follow similar price hikes at the country’s popular tourist sites. On January 1, the entry fee of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh increased to $10, from $6.25. Entry to the capital’s other top tourist draws, the National Museum and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, rose to $5, from $3.

Carrol Sahaidak-Beaver, secretary-general of the Cambodia Tourism Federation (CTF), said she did not expect these price hikes to have any significant impact on visitor numbers.

“We are not anticipating any negative impact on tourism numbers for either Angkor Wat, the National Museum or Tuol Sleng Museum,” she said yesterday. “The prices have been unchanged for 25 years and were overdue for an increase.”

Sahaidak-Beaver noted that a longer period of adjustment would have helped transition from the old to the new prices. However, the increased expenses should not affect Cambodia’s tourism competitiveness in the region, she added.

“Many tour packages are sold well in advance hence it is difficult to go back and say there has been an increase,” she said. “The new price is competitive to what is offered by our neighbors and internationally, and we fully support the increase.”

Ho Vandy, deputy secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance, said while government data showed tourists were spending less money during visits to the Kingdom, it was too early to say how higher admission prices would play out.

“We don’t know yet if it will affect the country in a positive or in a negative way,” he said. “Let’s see at the end of 2017 what the results are.”

In its year-end report released last week, the Ministry of Tourism revealed that overall revenue from tourism in Cambodia declined last year despite more visitors. Total revenue dropped $500 million to $3 billion in 2016 as international tourist arrivals increased 5 percent, crossing the 5 million mark for the first time.

Vandy suggested the lower revenue could be the result of increased airline connectivity. He said with more airlines serving Cambodia the country is increasingly becoming a stopover on wider regional trips, leading to shorter stays.

“There are more direct flights connecting Cambodia with the region and there are many airlines operating in the country,” he said. “Tourists are cutting down the length of their stay because of this and are choosing to go to more places during their trip.”

However, Tui Rutten, managing director of First Travel Cambodia, said a growing shift from high-end to budget travellers was likely behind the decline in overall tourism revenue. There are more Chinese tourists visiting Cambodia on cheap package deals and fewer tourists from Western countries, partly because of poor economic conditions in Europe, she explained.

“There have been a lot of Chinese charters coming to Cambodia and I think there has also been an increase in low-cost tourism,” she said. “I feel like there has been a decrease in the number of high-value tourists from Canada, the US and Europe.”

Whether the admission fee hikes of a handful of tourist sites would impact the decision of budget-conscious tourists to visit Cambodia remains unclear. Rutten preferred not to speculate.

Author:  Matthieu de Gaudemar / PhnonPehnPost

Cambodia – Angkor Wat bridge awaits restoration

SIEM REAP, 25 January 2017: A temporary pontoon bridge leading to Angkor Wat will be completed in May to allow workers to close an ancient stone bridge for restoration.

Phnom Penh Post reported that Apsara Authority will close the stone bridge , this May, to allow for restoration, while tourist traffic will be diverted to the temporary bridge.

The authority, which manages the historic temple complex, said the closure is part of restoration efforts carried out in conjunction with Japan’s Sophia University.

The 197-metre-long, 10-metre-wide pontoon is made of non-slip weather-resistant plastic.

Apsara spokeswoman, Chaosun Keriya, was quoted saying: “The restoration will take at least two to three years…as  the same type of stone must be used instead of cement.”

The construction of the pontoon started last November.

The original bridge, west of the temple, is about 190 metres long. The first phase of repairs was completed in 2007 by the Apsara Authority and Sophia University, which has spent 12 years repairing 90 metres of the structure already.

The number of foreign visitors to the World Heritage site rose 4.63% to 2.19 million last year. The top source markets were China, South Korea and the United States.

Revenue from ticket sales to foreigners visiting the park reached a record USD62.5 million in 2016, representing a solid increase of 4.21% over 2015.

The entrance fee to the Angkor Historical Park costs USD20 a day (foreigners only), USD40 for a three-day visit and USD60 for a week-long visit.

New entrance fees are due to take effect 1 February this year. The new fees are: one-day pass USD37, three-day pass USD62, and seven-day pass USD72.

Source: TTRweekly

We take you to the Pearls of the Orient

CAMBODIA

Siem Reap – Here you will find influences of French colonial and Chinese architecture.

With the Tuk Tuk service to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, to visit Angkor Ta Prohm, one of the famous temples of Cambodia. In the afternoon with a Jeep to the Angkor Wat Temple.

MYANMAR

Mandalay – After arriving in Mandalay you go to Mandalay Hill for magnificent views over the city and Irrawaddy River. In the afternoon you visit Amarapura, ‘the city of immortality. ” During a sunset cruise on Lake Taungthaman overlooking the U Bein Bridge.

Bagan – Departure to Bagan, where you will visit in the afternoon with a horse and carriage the old town. You will enjoy the sunset and an unforgettable view from O Gyan Pe Hill.

Air Balloon Flight Tour by balloon over temples studded plains of Bagan and the Irrawaddy River. In the afternoon, with small local boats a mini cruise on the Irrawaddy River.

VIETNAM

Hanoi – Let you in Vietnam be surprised by culinary delights, local culture and unique means of transport. In Hanoi visit the main attractions of this fascinating city. Visit the Hoa Lo Prison (known as the “Hanoi Hilton”).

Cruise through Halong Bay city tour Hanoi. In the afternoon, you will embark on a 3-day luxury cruise through one of the most beautiful natural bays in the world. Halong Bay is famous for its thousands of small islands and colorful floating villages in an emerald green sea.

Why is Jaipur called the Pink City?

Jaipur has been popularized with the name of Pink City because of the color of the stone exclusively used for the construction of all the structures. Anyone who has witnessed the city can substantiate the fact that all the buildings of Jaipur are pink in color. The pink color has its own history. In 1876, the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria visited India on a tour. Since pink denotes the color of hospitality, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the whole city pink in color to welcome the guests. The tradition has been sincerely followed by the residents who are now, by law, compelled to maintain the pink color.

Pink in color and pink in vibrancy, the city of Jaipur is one of most beautiful and magnetic cities of India. One always falls short of words while describing the bounteous charm that the city captivates the visitor with. The culture, architecture, traditions, art, jewellery and textiles of Jaipur have always charmed the travelers. It is one city that, even after modernisation, still holds to its roots and values.

Apart from being the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is also the largest city of the state. The foundation of the city dates back to the eighteenth century, with credit to the great warrior and astronomer Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. The glorious past of Jaipur comes alive in the palaces and forts in the city where once lived the royal clans. The majestic forts and havelis, the beautiful temples, the serene landscapes, and the rich cultural heritage, have made Jaipur an ideal destination for tourists.

There is something in the atmosphere of Jaipur that brings joy and delight as soon as you set foot in the city. The pink color of the city brings out a romantic charm that captivates every heart. If you haven’t got a chance to experience the royalties of Jaipur yet, plan your trip right away!

Cambodia – Siem Reap Tour

Today we did a tour on the outer part of Angkor Archeological Complex, we woke up at 4.30 am and departed at 7 am. We went about 30 Km away from Angkor complex and see several temples, among them Preh Ko, Ba Kong, Lo Lei, Banteay Srey, and Pre Rup. Touring around those temples took […]

via Cambodia Day 8: Outer Siam Reap Tour

What are the tourism trends in 2017?

In January begins the general orientation on the next holiday trips. Fairs help choose, trend watchers look in their crystal ball.

Just about any travel magazine and every holiday site sins on their crystal ball look: what destinations are hot in the New Year, the most attention the list of Lonely Planet, which publishes an annual top 10 countries list, cities and regions.

The top 10 countries

1/ Canada. The country exist 150 years. More importantly, it is full of natural beauty and friendly people.

2/ Colombia. Hooray, it is peace and everyone is welcome.

3 / Finland. Another anniversary. The 100th anniversary is celebrated with exhibitions, cooking feasts and, yes, sauna evenings.

4/ Dominica, Go before it’s too late: the ‘last unspoiled Caribbean island’ come in 2018 the first resorts.

5/ Nepal. Earthquakes have quite thrown back the country. Every tourist who comes, indirectly helping in the reconstruction efforts.

6/ Bermuda. Pink beaches appeal to the imagination, like the fact that the America’s Cup sailing race calling the British island in June.

7/ Mongolia. A new airport, better infrastructure and new hotels: Mongolia is gradually Tourism proof.

8/ Oman. Trump Arabia is becoming more accessible thanks to new hotels and attractions. Eye-catcher is the Musandam peninsula, with fjord-like inlets.

9/ Myanmar. The mysterious land of Southeast Asia has more temples than flats. Upcoming travel destination.

10/ Ethiopia. Exotic, overwhelming and now more accessible thanks to new flight connections.

 

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Oh look, another temple! Ken next took us to Wat Haus Pla Kung, a temple with a strong Chinese influence. There was an enormous statue of the (a?) goddess of mercy, visible well before we arrived at the temple. There was a new temple under construction, and we did go look at the old one, […]

Click on the link for more beautiful pictures
via Chiang Rai, Thailand

Ayutthaya, Thailand

Sweet, tropical Thailand…. It’s only been nine days since I left, and my heart aches to be back under your warm sun, eating your delicious food and (dare I say) back on your trains exploring… On our second day in Thailand, we walked around and found a restaurant. The owner was a young person who […]

via Ayutthaya, Thailand