"Aside from promotion and infrastructure, more creative abilities are needed to manage tourist attractions," he said.
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He then named several world-renowned destinations that have gained popularity because they were managed creatively, such as the Pasadena Flower Carnival in California, held on every January 2.
The festival is broadcast by television stations in more than 220 countries and became the seeded destination for the United States.
"We have a lot of Calendar of Events, and in the future, we will pick and choose, focus on a handful of them that have the most potential to attract tourists," he said.
The joining of tourism and the creative economy is very appropriate, as both are at the core of Indonesia's business, his predecessor Arief Yahya believed.
"President Jokowi often asked me what is in our DNA, and I said it is the creative economy, namely tourism and the creative industry," he said.
Tourism marketing has generated its highest-ever total of US$19.3 billion in foreign exchange in 2018, and this year it is estimated to reach $20 billion, he further explained.
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For the development of tourist destinations, Indonesia is focusing on five priority destinations namely Lake Toba, Borobudur, Labuan Bajo, Mandalika, and Likupang.
"President Jokowi has instructed that the construction of basic infrastructure and utilities at the five priority destinations need to be completed by 2020," said Yahya.
Meanwhile, Indonesia's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) is targeted to be ranked in the 30s, or the same as Malaysian tourism. Indonesia's competitive position is currently ranked 42 out of 136 countries, which is eight levels higher than the previous year.
Yahya hoped the tourism sector and the creative economy can be more advanced in the next five years, by generating more foreign exchange. "This year's tourism is projected to generate foreign exchange of up to $20 billion. In the future it will be even greater," he said.
The handover ceremony was attended by ministry officials and other invitees, including from tourist associations. Yahya wished goodbye to ministry employees and reporters before leaving.
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