Indonesia is confident demand for the destination will remain strong, despite last month’s tragic plane crash which left 189 people dead.
The black box of Lion Air flight JT610 was retrieved last week by divers in the Java Sea after the aircraft went down soon after taking off from Jakarta on its way to Pangkal Pinang on October 29. No survivors or wreckage from the Boeing 737 have yet been found.
Speaking to TTG@WTM, Nia Niscaya, deputy minister for tourism marketing at the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism, said since arriving in London for the trade show, she had experienced “zero negative feedback” from suppliers and partners in its European source market over aviation safety concerns.
She said the Indonesian government was dealing with the investigation surrounding the crash of Lion Air (Indonesia’s largest privately run airline), “incredibly seriously” and would take steps to ensure it “never happen again”.
“What happened was an awful tragedy and a lot of the facts still remain unclear so we are working to resolve that and answer the questions of what went wrong as quickly as we can,” she said.
“We don’t believe there will be a major impact from countries like the UK, mainland Europe and North America as visitors from those destinations primarily fly point-to-point and use a lot of Middle Eastern carriers so we do not anticipate a drop in demand.”
Meanwhile, Niscaya said the southern part of Lombok, struck in August by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which killed 460 people, was now 70% open to visitors.
Indonesia, she said, was aiming to reach 20 million global arrivals during 2019 – an ambition spearheaded by a new campaign to push the country as a twin-centre destination combined with stays in Malaysia and Singapore and offer discounted ferry, hotel and airfares to tourists from nearby Asian countries.
Turkish Airlines will also introduce a new three-weekly service from Istanbul to Denpasar (Bali) in 2019, which Niscaya said would offer a “fantastic opportunity” for European trade partners to promote Indonesia.