CAIRO, Egypt - In a push to attract more Saudi tourists to Indonesia, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry recently held a tourism exhibition in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, along with the Indonesian consulate general there.
The two-day expo on Thursday and Friday was aimed at promoting Indonesian tourism among Saudis and expatriates in the oil-rich country, the consulate general said in a statement on Saturday.
The expo was jointly opened by the ministry's director of overseas tourism promotion, Nia Niscaya, and the information and sociocultural consul in Jeddah, Cahyono Rustam.
National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and 11 travel bureaus attended the event and offered a mix of travel and tourism packages to visiting guests, the statement said.
They tried to introduce typical Indonesian handicrafts, with the event's organizing committee distributing free Indonesian souvenirs, including bamboo whistles, to guests.
âIndonesia intends to attract more Saudi tourists,â Nia said.
Despite the global financial crisis, Indonesia has recorded significant economic growth since the beginning of the year, and an increasing number of tourists have been traveling to the archipelago, she said.
The Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, has remained one of the main markets for Indonesian tourism during the past five years, she added.
Quoting data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Nia said 15,114 Saudi tourists visited the country in the first two months of 2012, up from 11,094 in the same period last year.
During all of 2011, 83,815 Saudi tourists visited Indonesia, a 21.69 percent increase from 68,878 tourists in 2010, she added.
To encourage mutually beneficial cooperation, travel and tour agents in both countries held a consultation meeting with Garuda Indonesia at the Le Meridien hotel in Jeddah last Wednesday to discuss the potential travel packages and accommodations.
The meeting brought together 125 participants from various travel agents in Jeddah as well as journalists, the statement said.â