Jakarta’s Tourism Pitch

Sep 26, 2014

Jakarta skyline
Credit Flickr / The Diary of a Hotel Addict

The latest figures from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority show that visitor spending and arrivals are both up slightly from a year ago. But when it comes to the Asia Pacific tourism market, Hawai‘i faces increasing competition. And some of it is coming from an unexpected place. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Jakarta has never really been a tourist hub.

But Indonesia’s incoming president Joko Widodo wants to change that. He’s working on a plan to fix up the old part of the city. He knows the town—he was the mayor before winning the presidential election this summer.

During his time as mayor, he made some changes in the capital. This year, his administration brought in a series of double-decker tourist buses and increased the number of art and cultural events in the city.

Traditionally, the sprawling environs of Jakarta have drawn less tourist interest than island spots like Bali, or historical and cultural locations like Yogyakarta. But MasterCard reports Jakarta has seen visitor spending rise by more than 26% over the past year, in part due to more spending by Indonesia’s middle class.

International visitors are increasing as well, along with global ambitions for the travel sector. This summer, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy appointed Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan as a special tourism ambassador to China. More broadly, incoming President Widodo says he wants Indonesia’s visitor numbers to double in five years.