Direct Flight to London Expected to Attract More British Tourists

LONDON ~

Tourism and Creative Economic Minister Mari Elka Pangestu has expressed her hope that the resumption of Garuda Indonesia’s flights to England will help increase the number of British tourists to Indonesia.

After being absent for more than 10 years, the Indonesian flagship carrier will resume direct flights to London in May 2014, the minister said on Wednesday.

The number of British tourists visiting Indonesia during January-August 2013 was recorded at 141,509, an increase of 7.41 percent from 131,741 during the same period in 2012.

Minister Pangestu is optimistic that Garuda’s planned direct flight and Garuda’s participation in the World Travel Market in London, on Nov. 4-7, 2013, will help to attract more British tourists to Indonesia.

Indonesia is expected to see an increase of 8.8 percent in the number of tourist arrivals this year.

“I am optimistic that we will be able to receive 8.6 million tourists, or even more,” she stated.

Indonesian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland Hamzah Thayeb said Indonesia’s participation in the World Travel Market in London is significant since the United Kingdom is a major market.

Garuda’s Marketing and Sales Director Erik Meijer noted that the airline will provide non-stop flights, serving the London-Jakarta-Sydney route, using the Boeing 777-300ER.

He claimed Garuda will be the only airline offering Europe-Australia direct flights via Jakarta.

Indonesia attracted 8.04 million foreign tourists last year, a 10 percent rise from 7.65 million tourists in 2011, and has targeted booking 9 million tourist arrivals this year.

The tourism board was set up at the end of 2011 under a presidential decree to help promote Indonesia to the world and to boost tourism and creative industry businesses.

Besides exploring new and alternative tourism markets, the tourism ministry will continue to focus on 16 countries, including European nations, which are considered to be high-potential markets.

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