Indonesia wants to attract Korean golfers to a country that boasts more than 140 courses.
The comment was made at the "Indonesia Tourism Insight: Policy and Strategy" conference hosted by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry on Nov. 24.
Noviendi Makalam, director of international marketing communication at the ministry, spoke about new Indonesian tourism regulations and destinations.
"We invite travelers from South Korea to enjoy golf resorts and religious pilgrimage in Indonesia," the director said at the conference at Courtyard by Marriott in Seoul. "Indonesia is home to some of the world's best golf resorts, complemented by international-standard amenities."
According to the ministry, Indonesia has been a venue for international golf tournaments, including the 6th Ballantine's Team-Am Golf Challenge in September and the World Amateur Golf Championship last month.
As part of promoting the country as an attractive golfing spot, the tourism ministry has a new strategy, "Three Greater: Jakarta, Batam and Bali." The three regions are working together so foreign tourists can enjoy Indonesia's nature.
"Indonesian golf courses are equipped with top facilities and services and supported by strategic locations," Makalam said. "Only in this country can golfers can indulge in different settings at each course."
He said the Indonesian government's new policies will attract more Korean travelers: free visa and more immigration checkpoints for Korean travelers, the abolition of clearance approval for Korean yachts to enter Indonesian territories via 18 ports, and the abolition of cabotage, which gives priority access to cruises to embark/disembark foreign tourists at five harbors in Indonesia.
"Our new policies will help South Koreans to travel more conveniently to Indonesia," Indonesia Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.
Korean travelers can access more immigration checkpoints at arrival gates at five airports and nine ports. Additional immigration checkpoints are available at departure gates at 19 airports, 29 seaports and two landed ports.
"Since developing the marine tourism industry is one of our targets, the new policy allows cruises with foreign flags to take passengers in five ports in Indonesia," the minister said.
According to a recent presidential regulation, foreign yachts are now allowed more easily to enter Indonesian territories, with processing of their custom, immigration, quarantine and port documents available at 18 ports. The ministry expects the policy to increase the number of yachts visiting Indonesia to 5,000 in 2019.
The five cruise ship ports are Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, Belawan Port in Medan, Soekarno-Hatta Port in Makassar, and Benoa Port in Bali.
The government has also removed visas for citizens of 90 countries on short trips, including Korea.
"With these new policies, we're hoping to increase Indonesia's tourism values in the global industry," Makalam said.
According to the ministry, the number of Korean travelers is increasing. Last year, more than 370,000 Koreans visited Indonesia, and the ministry predicts the number will reach 500,000 this year.
The number of foreign tourists to the country in January-August was up to almost 3 percent compared with the same period last year.
By Rachel Lee, The Korean Times