Speaking to Antara`s correspondent in London on Sunday, Feb 3, Ambassador Bagas Hapsoro said the Latvian people showed their great enthusiasm for Indonesia`s diverse tourist destinations during the convening of this 26th International Travel Trade Fair.
Taking place at Kipsala International Exhibition Centre in Riga from Feb 1 to Feb 3, the Indonesian exhibition stand showcasing the country`s cultural heritage, natural beauty, and culinary richness received a surge in visitors, he said.
As revealed in this event`s official website, the 26th International Travel Trade Fair "Balttour 2019" is claimed to be the largest and most important travel market in the Baltic States marking the start of the new tourist season.
Offering a festive mood to both tourism professionals and travelers, this three-day annual event was joined by at least 470 exhibition stands and about 850 travel and tourism related companies from 41 countries across the world.
In anticipating the increasing number of visitors from the Baltic states, Indonesia needs to pay serious attention to such necessities as clean and sanitary environment at tourist sites, accurate information, and security, Ambassador Bagas Hapsoro said.
During the event, the Wonderful Indonesia tourism brand was promoted by showcasing the natural beauty of Indonesia as the world`s biggest archipelago along with the diversity of its people`s cultures and foods.
Ambassador Bagas Hapsoro said the Wonderful Indonesia tourism brand has actually been promoted since last year by involving several travel agents from the resort island of Bali and the Baltic states` tour operators.
President of PT BeWish International Nyoman Sukarba was quoted as saying that the Indonesian embassy in Sweden was expected to help maintain its relations with Latvia`s main travel agents, ALTA Ms. Inga Kavaca.
Tourism sector is one of the backbones of Indonesia`s economy. One of the potential markets that Indonesia has seriously been eyeing is those in Europe.
Antara noted that holidaymakers coming from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia have become the top five contributors among the European countries to foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia over the past few years.
The market value of these five European countries was recorded at more than US$1 million, with the average length of stay of almost two weeks, or 13.7 days.
In 2017, Indonesia set a target of attracting 2.19 million outbound tourists from European countries, including the United Kingdom (441 thousand), France (330 thousand), Germany (306 thousand), the Netherlands (250 thousand), and Russia (100 thousand).
Throughout 2018, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry recorded that more than 15.81 million tourists visited the country, up 12.58 percent from 14.04 million a year earlier.
The tourism ministry listed five countries as top five sources of tourist arrivals in Indonesia last year. They were Malaysia with 2.50 million or 15.83 percent, China with 2.14 million or 13.52 percent, Singapore with 1.77 million or 11.19 percent, Timor Leste with 1.76 million or 11.15 percent, and Australia with 1.30 million or 8.23 percent.
Reporting by Zeynita Gibbons
Editing by Rahmad Nasution