Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism invited travel agents to learn about the country’s incredible marine environment at its first ever Underwater World Sales Mission in Sydney this week.
The fully booked sales mission, held at Doltone House on Tuesday night, showcased Indonesia’s aquatic wonders and encouraged agents to learn about the nation’s emerging destinations beyond the well-known beaches of south-west Bali.
Over 70 travel agents were in attendance to learn about the nation’s aquatic wonders at the booked-out event. Over canapes, agents were treated to a performance by dancers from South Sumatra before being formally welcomed by Consul Dicky Djukarja Soerjanatamihardia, who spoke of Indonesia’s many cultural, culinary, adventurous and aquatic attractions and the ministry’s objective to attract 1.4 million Australian visitors in 2018.
Indonesia lies at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the birthplace of coral and home to the richest marine biodiversity on Earth. The nation’s tropical waters contain 500 species of coral, 2500 species of fish, 2500 species of mollusc, 1500 species of crustacea, and a variety of other marine biota.
In addition to Indonesia’s beautiful coral reefs, visitors can experience a number of incredible pelagic marine encounters, such as swimming, snorkeling and diving with manta rays, huge schools of eagle rays, turtles, reef sharks, whale sharks and the mysterious giant sunfish, or ‘mola mola’.
There are man-made underwater wonders too, such as the underwater sculpture park off the Gili Islands, the world famous USAT Liberty wreck in Tulamben Bay in north-east Bali, and the bio-rock sculpture garden at Pemuteran on the north coast of Bali.
Agents also learned about Bali’s hidden gems, such as Sanur and Candidasa on the east coast, and Menjangan on the north coast. Beyond Bali, emerging destinations covered include the beaches of Lombok and Flores, the unique wildlife and pristine coral reefs of Komodo and Sulawesi, the aquatic wonders of Raja Ampat and jungle river cruising opportunities in Kalimantan, Borneo.
Assistant Director for Maritime Services, Okto Irianto, spoke passionately about President Joko Widodo’s vision to turn his nation’s attention back to the sea, a nation of 17,508 islands that, should you try, would take you over 40 years to visit, one islands per day.
Mr Irianto also reminded agents that Indonesia’s cabotage laws have recently changed, making it easier for cruise passengers to embark and disembark in the country, in the hopes of Indonesian ports being included on more cruise itineraries.
Also announced at the sales mission, developments are underway to expand port facilities at Bali’s Benoa Harbour, enabling the port to cater to bigger cruise ships.
Tourism operators attending the Sales Mission included; Classic Tour Lombok, Senetan Villas and Spa Resort, Bali, The Open House Bali, Mercure Bali Nusa Dua, J4 Hotels Legian, Sea World Club Beach Resort and Dive Centre, Pindito Expeditions – Raja Ampat, and Kalimantan Tour Destinations.