The grass is al­ways greener on In­done­sia’s lush links.

In­done­sia is look­ing to score its own tourism hole in one by be­com­ing a ma­jor golf desti­na­tion in Asia.

The Jakarta Post - Magazine - - Contents - Words Nur­fika Os­man

Known as the world’s largest ar­chi­pel­ago with di­verse nat­u­ral set­tings, famed for its hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, and home to more than 140 golf cour­ses with a wide va­ri­ety of lay­outs, In­done­sia wants to be­come Asia’s top golf­ing desti­na­tion.

The Tourism and Cre­ative Econ­omy Min­istry re­cently added golf to the cat­e­gory of spe­cial in­ter­est tourism that will be fur­ther de­vel­oped and pro­moted in a bid to at­tract for­eign golfers.

“The num­ber of golf tourists is not as many as reg­u­lar tourists, but this is a niche high yield mar­ket. We are work­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor to up­grade the golf cour­ses and par­tic­i­pate in golf trade shows, such as the lat­est Korea Golf Show, and will hold tour­na­ments to pro­mote our golf des­ti­na­tions,” the min­istry’s meet­ing, in­cen­tives, con­ven­tion, ex­hi­bi­tion (MICE) and spe­cial in­ter­est tourism de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Ach­yarudin said.

He said that 51 out of 140 cour­ses in the coun­try have met in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and were de­signed by world renowned course ar­chi­tects, in­clud­ing Bob Moore, Greg Nor­man, Gra­ham Marsh and Jack Nick­laus. The cour­ses are back-dropped by moun­tains, ac­tive vol­ca­noes, oceans, lakes, forests and city sky­lines, strength­en­ing In­done­sia’s po­si­tion as a golf desti­na­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Golf Tour Op­er­a­tors (IAGTO), the global golf tourism mar­ket is worth over US$17 bil­lion

and an es­ti­mated 10 per­cent of the 56 mil­lion peo­ple who play golf world­wide travel over­seas an­nu­ally for the main pur­pose of play­ing golf.

IAGTO says that the Asia Pa­cific, in­clud­ing In­done­sia, is poised to at­tract a good num­ber of th­ese golf trav­el­ers in the years to come.

He said that the min­istry has yet to iden­tify the num­ber of golfers vis­it­ing the coun­try as the golf di­vi­sion is in the pipe­line, but the min­istry’s in­for­ma­tion center data es­ti­mates that each golfer spends be­tween $2,500 to $5,000 dur­ing their golf­ing hol­i­day in In­done­sia, higher than a reg­u­lar tourist who spends around $1,133.

The min­istry’s MICE and spe­cial in­ter­est tourism promotional di­rec­tor Rizky Han­dayani said that the gov­ern­ment has set a tar­get to bring in 50,000 golfers in 2014.

“We hope to reach the tar­get be­fore 2014 be­cause we are ag­gres­sively pro­mot­ing our golf at­trac­tions when­ever we par­tic­i­pate in trade shows and pro­vide in­cen­tives to sev­eral golf schools such as in Korea and Ja­pan,” Rizky said.

She was op­ti­mistic the tar­get would be met soon be­cause Jakarta would host one of the world’s big­gest golf events, the Asia-Pa­cific Golf Sum­mit in Novem­ber this year, bring­ing In­done­sia to the fore­front of the golf scene across the pa­cific re­gion.

She also said that the min­istry worked with golf op­er­a­tors in­clud­ing In­do­golf Travel and Golf Won­der­ful In­done­sia, and na­tional flag car­rier Garuda In­done­sia who let any pas­sen­ger bring their golf equip­ment at no ex­tra charge, to at­tract more trav­el­ers.

Golf Won­der­ful In­done­sia CEO Har­mony Le Riche said that they ex­pected to bring in 1,000 golfers a month with a 10 per­cent in­crease year on year. She said that most of the cus­tomers were in­bound leisure golfers from Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, Aus­tralia, Korea, Ja­pan, Thai­land and China.

“We are now see­ing more in­ter­est from Europe as a very big po­ten­tial mar­ket and find they are in­ter­ested in our longer stay pack­ages for 10 days on av­er­age with com­bi­na­tion des­ti­na­tions,” she said.

Be­sides the tour op­er­a­tors and Garuda, the ho­tel in­dus­try also played a vi­tal role in help­ing the coun­try to jump on the golf tourism band­wagon.

Ho­tel Mu­lia Se­nayan Jakarta and Tauzia Ho­tel Man­age­ment were col­lab­o­rat­ing with some of the coun­try’s best cour­ses in or­der to de­liver golf pack­ages to the niche trav­el­ers.

Ho­tel Mu­lia Se­nayan worked with the Se­nayan Golf Club, while Tauzia, through its four star ac­com­mo­da­tion Har­ris Ho­tel, of­fered pack­ages to play in Giri Ga­hana Golf Course (Ban­dung), Moun­tain View Golf Club (Ban­dung), Ter­ing Bay Golf & Coun­try Club (Batam) and New Kuta Golf Club (Bali).

Both Ho­tel Mu­lia pub­lic re­la­tions di­rec­tor Romy Her­lam­bang and Tauzia spokes­woman Yani Sin­ul­ingga said that the mar­ket re­sponse was healthy with some trav­el­ers ex­tend­ing their stay just to play more golf.

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