Flora & Fauna
Volume 88 | May 2012
insidesumatera.com | tourism & lifestyle magazine - The Crew of
The Crew of Grand
Sabtu, 14 Februari 2009 | 10:50:42
The Crew of Grand Angkasa Airlines
by. Terence T. Lee
Last month we joined the Indonesian Tourism and Travel Fair (ITTF) in Jakarta. It should have been the “Fiestavanganza” exhibition to attract tourist for 2008 as it’s the last effort of the Indonesian government this year to push to achieve the target of 7 million visitors (while currently the figure is still 3 million tourists coming to Indonesia). Surely, it is a great effort. With buyers coming from mainly China, Germany and Malaysia, it became an international event and the business leads gotten from the fair were astonishingly excellent. From a marketing point of view, I can say: mission almost achieved, and I am relatively happy. The most striking object however would be the participation of the Malaysian Tourism Board and a new Malaysian Low Budget Carrier. Why striking? As this exhibition is to promote the Indonesian Tourism and Travel Market, why then invite a neighboring country? Reasons what maybe they could say was that they forgot that the exhibition was only for the promotion of Indonesian Tourism Boards, travel agents and hotels. Another remarkable piece, at least for me, was the nonattendance of a Tourism Board from North Sumatera, planned to come but did not come, why? Anyway, it was a pity to say the least, that North Sumatera was only represented by 2 hotels. I salute the Malaysians and Singaporeans who are so much bolder in promoting the tourism and even beating us on our own turf? Has anyone ever noticed that when you are on the way from Soekarno-Hatta Cengkareng-Jakarta’s International Airport and taking the toll road to the town, there is a big billboard from the Malaysian national carrier, thanking their customers for flying the best airline as well as another airline is promoting their new A380 route to Tokyo? What happened with all the Indonesian airlines and the Tourism Boards? Can you understand that we are of course there with main purpose to sell and to promote the hotel, but ending up promoting an entire province. On the contrary to Bali and Java whom naturally where represented by a large contingent. But besides these two popular tourist destinations, I was missing any information regarding the eco-tourism in Kalimantan, diving in Sulawesi, the famous Krakatau volcano in Banten, surfing in Nias and of course Lake Toba in North Sumatera, which could have been an even bigger asset for the fair in promoting the undiscovered country. Oddly to say it became our job in promoting North Sumatera and with the help of Google Earth we showed both visitor and buyer alike how close Sumatera actually is located from Malaysia and Singapore. By doing this, we showed them that Medan can be the perfect beginning of your holiday or even closing, by departing directly from Medan to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur-to a shortly transit before departing on a connecting evening flight to Europe. To provide them with a broader view on possible sites to visit in Sumatera, quickly enough we started to promote other places and cities of interest near Medan, such as Nias, Bukittinggi, Aceh, and Padang. I can easily say that for primarily the European buyers, my sales pitch was more of a “hi guys, we are here, please come Sumatera, it isn’t that boring!!!” then promoting the hotel. I don’t want to be negative, but a fact is a fact: there is no tourism being promoted in North Sumatera because there is no budget. The tourism in North Sumatera is just not a major priority. My Cinderella ending, besides we got some great leads as well deals done, the team who went to the ITTF received the nickname from a kid “The Crew of Grand Angkasa Airlines”, ended up in becoming true ambassadors of the province. As hoteliers, we are all in the business of selling dreams and illusions as our guests don’t know what the hotel room looks like. The guest pays for the name and reputation of the hotel, they only know what to expect from a 5 star hotel. As I mentioned earlier, what we were selling at the ITTF was besides a hotel is also an entire province; a province that wants to sell itself but is limited by the resources and support. So, it is the duty of the respective hotels, tour operators and local government in North Sumatera to wake up from the passive stand and become active, change the attitude, stand united, and see this as a common problem. We, so called experts, always have a better opinion on how to manage-just like watching a soccer match, everyone is the better coach. So let me ask you. When you are reading this article, it means that you have been to Medan or Sumatera. I ask your valuable opinion, input and comment. As the reader, on what we should be doing to promote Sumatera, what are you looking for and where did you receive your information? I’ll be waiting at http://hoteliers-cookbook.blogspot.com/. See you there!
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