Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has joined the 2022 Makkah Expo for Hotels & Restaurants, which is taking place at Makkah Exhibition Center, Mecca, Saudi Arabia from March 7–9, 2022, to boost exports to Saudi Arabia.

"The large market share of expatriates and pilgrims of Umrah and Hajj is a great opportunity for Indonesian products," Trade Ministry's Director General of National Export Development Didi Sumedi said here on Tuesday.

Through the event, Indonesia is also seeking to take advantage of Saudi Arabia's unique market, while targeting the Middle East and Africa, he said.

Indonesia's participation in Makkah Expo is the result of cooperation between the Trade Ministry, the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah, and the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Jeddah, he informed.

In addition, Sumedi said, the exhibition is a platform to meet and network with international companies from various countries.

"Makkah Expo 2022 also opens the opportunities to explore business development cooperation in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and African region countries, given Mecca's position as one of the main destination centers of Muslims from around the world," Sumedi pointed out.

The Indonesia Pavilion at the expo spans 45 sq m, with six companies displaying products ranging from food, beverage, crackers to toiletries, he said.

Indonesia’s participation in the expo is also a follow-up to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by the Trade Ministry, Religious Affairs Ministry, Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry on January 13, 2021, for increasing the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in meeting the needs of Indonesian Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, Sumedi said.

The Indonesia Pavilion was officially opened by Indonesian Consul General Eko Hartono.

Hartono said Indonesia's participation in the exhibition is one of the endeavors of Indonesian representatives in Saudi Arabia to promote Indonesian products, especially those catering to hotel and restaurant needs.

"We see a quite high enthusiasm from businesses in Saudi Arabia to import Indonesian products. This aligns with the lifting of restrictions on health protocols that came into effect on March 6," he explained.

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ITPC Jeddah head Muhammad Rivai Abbas said that exhibitors from Indonesia will also join business meetings with Saudi Arabian businesses and importers at the expo.

In 2021, the total trade between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia was recorded at US$5.55 billion, he noted.

"The value of Indonesia's exports to Saudi Arabia in 2021 was the highest in the last five years (2017–2021). It also showed optimism that Indonesian products are increasingly accepted in the Saudi Arabian market," Abbas highlighted.

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Translator: Sella G, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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