One Asia+One Future = Indonesia: Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno Explains

Santiago Uno

One Asia, One Future = Indonesia: The Hon. Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia, shares his excitement after returning to Jakarta from Abu Dhabi, where he participated in the AVPN Conference.  The world’s most social tourism minister sat down with eTN Publisher Juergen Steinmetz in a Zoom Interview, sharing his excitement, and his vision for his country’s future.

Minister Sandiaga Uno looked a little tired but excited after his 18-hour trip from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta, where he attended the AVPN conference on One Asia, One Future. Fresh off the plane, he took the time to do this interview with eTurboNews publisher Juergen Steinmetz.

Transcript of the Interview with eTurboNews

Yes, indeed. Thank you for having me on the Breaking News show.

We completed serious, strategic bilateral meetings and participated in panel discussions. I also delivered some remarks at the AVPN Global Conference in Abu Dhabi and was involved in its preparations.

I will be back in the UAE next month for the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

My Abu Dhabi visit was of significant importance. And I think the concept of one Asia, one future is important.

As we navigate very tough geopolitical situations and rising tensions in various parts of the world, we believe that we need to sit closer to the common platform of understanding and think about what we have in common. This is particularly true in the cultural, political, social, and historical contexts.

We must also abide by our sustainable development goals and speak within one common platform for collaborations on investment opportunities and technology advancement.

Indonesia is updating its investment schemes, which could be achieved as we transition into the new government and provide a new initiative—the Indonesia Quality Tourism Fund.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered his Cabinet to set up a tourism fund to finance quality and sustainable tourism development.

We are complementing what we already have on nature, culture, and adventure to achieve more quality and sustainable tourism within the Sustainable Development Goals.

I’m excited to return to Jakarta after a successful trip to Abu Dhabi.

Eighty-four countries attended the conference, so it was indeed a global conference.

Since we were talking about the transformations we’re facing, which are green transformations, a lot of the discussions focussed on how the current situations could be used as a platform to accelerate the transformation into a green economy of the future.

Being sustainable is excellent, but promoting tourism can sometimes be seem as a conflict.

How do you combine the need to generate income through tourism with your green policies?

What you mentioned is very, very spot on. Our participation in this conference also highlighted Indonesia’s tourism and creative economy sectors.

We are introducing five super-priority destinations to help diversify.

Bali is the most favorite destination. But we are also seeing how Bali can recover with the other destinations in a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach.

So when we discuss with potential investors and engage in discussions with target markets, we’re not just focusing on the numbers, not just on the quantities, but more on the qualities.

How could we create a much better experience? How could we develop activities that help decarbonize the sectors? How could we introduce carbon offsetting by planting?

Bali, in particular, has taken a huge step. At this conference, we signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to create the Center for Mangrove Research in Bali.

This is to introduce the new tourism of Indonesia, which is not just sun and sand but more serenity, spirituality, and sustainability.

Indonesia is emerging from a developing to an advanced economy.

So, we need to highlight this knowledge based on a green-blue circular economy, which is inclusive.

You mentioned small and medium enterprises.

We work with microowners to help them enter digital, inclusive, and sustainable economies because, in the end, it’s about how you create prosperity.

We need to create good quality jobs and green jobs.

Such jobs should focus on ensuring that cultural heritage and local wisdom are within the cast so that micro, small, and medium enterprises will continue to be involved in this trajectory moving forward.

And that’s an important aspect for us recovering from post-pandemic issues.

What about Holistic and Medical Tourism in Indonesia?

The average International tourist spent $1000.00 when visiting Indonesia before COVID-19. We’re now at about $1500 to $1700, so it is a whopping 50% to 70% increase.

So I would say the new tourism products of health tourism, holistic tourism, spiritual tourism, wellness, have taken a lot of, interest. Ecotourism and recently introduced sports tourism are in the same league.

We established tourism villages across Bali specifically including many parts of the Islands of the Gods. Tourism villages are not just in the southern part of Bali but also in the northern, western, and eastern parts of the province, which has seen less development.

So, our approach is not only to attract gigantic, 1,000-room resorts but rather small boutique properties centered around cultural heritage and spiritual settings.

Our Tourism Village concept is closer to nature. It provides exciting adventures for new international arrivals.

Tourism extends far beyond Bali. We discussed this during the World Tourism Network Event in Bali, which I am very happy to have attended and to be part of.

We are introducing priority destinations and the new Indonesian capital city in Kalimantan and Borneo. We want to make the new capital, Nusantara, a capital city of green forests.

This ensures that Indonesia’s GDP grows by 5% per year, which could be felt by our 280 million people.

We have thousands of islands, and we need to ensure that the rest of the country is being developed as well, not only in Java and Bali.

So, the tourism and creative economy sectors have created about 50 million jobs in Indonesia.

We believe that, with the macroeconomic trajectory, we would be able to contribute much of the country’s needed growth. This includes introducing new destinations and investment opportunities in Indonesia.

We have now passed massive structural reforms to attract new investments, particularly foreign investments into Indonesia.

Before joining the government, I managed investments for foreign investors in a private equity firm in Indonesia.

With our new special economic zones and accelerated permits and licenses, we are very open to foreign investments, particularly in the tourism economy.

We want to move fast. We want to move together.

It has to be inclusive, and no one should be left behind. As we march towards 2045, we can deliver Indonesia’s status as an advanced economy to a developed nation.

The Golden Indonesia 2045 Vision

The Golden Indonesia 2045 Vision is Indonesia’s official development plan, which aims to make the country a sovereign, advanced, fair, and prosperous nation by 2045, when it will celebrate 100 years of independence.

Garuda Airlines USA flights

Are there any plans to reconnect the US with Indonesia, perhaps with Garuda Indonesia, which is now one of the best 5-star Airlines in the world?

I remember when Garuda flew to Los Angeles and Honolulu. I was studying in the US in the 80s and 90s.

I remember flying Garuda to the U.S. Those are fond memories. Unfortunately, post-COVID, Garuda is focused more on domestic and selected international markets, which they are doing very well now.

They’re growing; they are improving their services.

Connectivity with the US has now been served mainly by Middle East-based airlines, which have done a great job. Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airlines, and Singapore Airlines are good examples.

Direct Denpasar – Los Angeles flights

We are trying to improve connectivity in their talks to have direct Denpasar, Los Angeles flights by Garuda.

Hopefully, with the arrival of new aircraft, this could be introduced to the market. It would be a game-changer.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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