11 June 2018

Promoting Jakarta Beyond Golf

How does it feel when your hobby is also your job? Well, Hari Wibowo can tell you about that. Since joining the Destination and Marketing Department in 2009, Hari, who also began swinging his clubs in the same year, has been creating strategic marketing and promotion programs for golf as a part of highlighting Jakarta as a tourist destination.

Based on his experience in golf, Hari can determine the strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities, to increase tourism revenue for the province. “I know golf has the potential to increase our revenue, moreover we have several golf courses that are of international standard and combine with other subjects in our tourism industry,” explained the 18 handicapper, who says he began playing golf seriously five years ago.

As the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta has the potential to be a major destination for golf in the archipelago. What concept has the Tourism Department developed to introduce Jakarta as a golf destination?

First, we evaluated the perception of golf. Golf is an expensive sport, but golf also has its class. As with any sport, the class of golf determines the price of the sport itself. It all depends on the player and the courses he uses. When we share a common perception of golf as a sport and have the potential as a tourist destination for the international world, we are preparing our strengths for sale. What is the advantage of golf in Jakarta? Our price is cheaper than Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Our golf packages include a caddie, one player to one caddy. And, we have other entertainment after golf.

So, what has been done by the Tourism Office to promote Jakarta’s golf tourism?
Not long ago, we participated in the Asia Golf Tourist Convention in Manila. We invited several golf courses in Jakarta and surrounding areas, as well as travel agents. The result was very good. This is one of the various activities to introduce Jakarta to the international world.

As a golf player yourself, how do you assess the potential of golf tourism in Jakarta?
I compare playing golf in Indonesia with other countries. We are still the best. I once played on a well-known golf course in Manila. However, the courses in Indonesia are better, such as Royale Jakarta Golf Club, Pondok Indah Golf Club, and Kapuk (Damai Indah Golf-PIK Course). I also played in Thailand. English language skills of the caddies are still better in Indonesia.
How long has golf been included in the Tourist Destination Program in Jakarta?
Golf has long been included in the Tour Destination Program. Since I was in this division, in 2009, golf tourism programs already exist.

From 2009 to present day, have you seen an increase in the number of golf tourists to Jakarta?
Until now, the number of golf tourists from abroad has increased but not significantly. Therefore, we need to strengthen the promotion sector around the potential of golf in Jakarta. We have a mission for Jakarta to become “Jakarta Beyond Golf Destination.” They do not know that yet. They only know Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Bali for tourism in Indonesia. Jakarta is not yet known.

Through the "Jakarta Beyond Golf Destination" mission, what exactly do you want to achieve?
We want Jakarta to be well known in the international world. Our participation in activities such as golf fairs and international ones opens the eyes of the world to see that there are other destinations. Tourist golfers are always like that; looking for new destinations in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, that have better conditions, in terms of prices, in terms of facilities, in terms of services.

The tourism sector provides substantial revenue for Thailand. Has there been a study of the Tourism Department of Thailand to find out what it is that helps Thailand generate this tourism revenue?
Thailand has made their tourism sector a main priority: tourism as the backbone of income for the government. We have only been doing that for the past two years or so: aligning tourism as one of the largest incomes and producing jobs. However, we are optimistic to speed up, to catch up with it, because people have been looking at Indonesia, especially Jakarta.

What steps are being taken to pursue that?
We must constantly promote and sell tourism potential in Jakarta. Preparing packages with special offers and special prices. We invite many participants to hold international events here. The existence of the Asian Games in Jakarta next August opens the opportunity up for us to promote the potential of Jakarta Tourism to the athletes and officials. For us, this Asian Games provides momentum for us to show the world we are ready to host great, international multi-events.

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