Consulate sees more Indonesian tourist
The Indonesian Consulate in the State will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment in promoting tourism between Indonesia and Sabah. “Promoting Sabah is a joint responsibility between Indonesia and the State Government, therefore more effort should be made to encourage tourism between these countries,” Acting Consul General Bapak Rudhito Widagdo said when launching a three-day Introductory Course on Indonesian Language and Culture for members of Sabah Tourist Guide Association (STGA) at the Indonesian Consulate here yesterday. Rudhito said he was convinced that the tourist arrivals from Indonesia will show a positive growth since the country has a huge population. Indonesian tourists come to Sabah mainly to shop, sightsee, have medical treatment and play golf as well as diving and do business, he said. “We have suggested a Malaysian Mission Office be set up in Nunukan to promote Sabah in Indonesia,” he said, adding that currently mission offices have only been set up in Jakarta, Bali, Pontianak and Medan. Rudhito said currently, foreign tourists spend an average of USD107 per day in Indonesia and will stay for about nine days. The Indonesian Government will abolish the fiscal fee and airport tax which amount to more than RM 300 for Indonesia tourists starting January 1 next year, he said. Meanwhile, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Deputy Chairman Datuk Sari Suhut said each and everyone in the country should play their role in promoting tourism. “Tourism industry is very important since it creates employment and all people will benefit from the industry,” he said, adding that the tourist arrivals in the State are growing each year, including arrivals from Indonesia. During the launching ceremony, five guest speakers including two travel agents from Jakarta gave talks to 60 STGA members and corporate sector representatives. Jointly organised with Sabah Tourism Board, the course is aimed at familiarizing the participants with the Indonesian market to enable them to better handle Indonesian visitors professionally. Also present were Consul of Economic Affairs Bapak Iskandar Abdullah, STGA President Datin Faridah Rahman and STB Deputy General Manager Gordon Yapp.