New Indonesian Tourism Minister

Oct 21st, 2011, in Featured, IM Posts, Travel, by

Indonesia's President, Dr Susilo Bambang Yudohoyno, earlier this week announced the outcomes of a long-awaited and much-debated cabinet reshuffle. Many of the new appointments followed analysts' predictions.

Jero WacikMaria Elka Pangestu
Indonesia's Tourism Ministers, Old and New

But in an unexpected move, current Tourism Minister Jero Wacik will become the Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, while Dr Mari Elka Pangestu will transfer from the Trade portfolio to become the new Tourism and Creative Economy Minister.

(It is not known how the cabinet reshuffle will affect Mr Wacik's wife, Triesna Wacik a.k.a. Miss Toilet. For the record, Dr Pangestu is married and has two children, therefore a member of her family could in theory become the next Miss Toilet or even a Mr Toilet.)

New ministerial appointments in Indonesia often take on their new role with vigour at least initially. They often make impromptu visits to the facilities under their control and meet some of their new colleagues'. Occasionally, they even listen to some of their constituents' feedback.

In 2009, the then newly re-appointed Tourism Minister Jero Wacik was once famously disappointed by the poor state of Denpasar/Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport during an unannounced visit.

So, if you happened to bump into the new Tourism Minister in the near future, what would you say?

11 Comments on “New Indonesian Tourism Minister”

  1. avatar Chris says:
    October 21st, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    If Dr Pangestu is reading, here are some past suggestions:

    Get “The Amazing Race” and Other Tourism Promotion Ideas

    “Wonderful Indonesia” and Other Tourism Slogan Ideas

    Having said that, Indonesia just appeared in “The Amazing Race” (Series 19 Episodes 2 & 3) – more on that in a future post.

  2. avatar Oigal says:
    October 21st, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I am still hanging out for “Indonesia – Your Bi-Polar experience”

  3. avatar Sputjam says:
    October 23rd, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Indonesia should be broken up into several touristic areas such as those centered around Bali, Medan, Jakarta, Flores island, Sulawesi and bengkulu.

  4. avatar deta says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Hopefully her success in importing products to this country (from salt to airplane) will be followed by another success in importing tourists instead.

    I don’t know about her or member of her family becoming the next Miss toilet, but having seen how keen she was in promoting open trade, I am afraid if it will somehow affect her policy about open defecation.

  5. avatar Chris says:
    October 25th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Here are Dr Pangestu’s first initiatives:

    Mari seeks to draw Hollywood film makers to Indonesia

    She doesn’t mention whether the new Film Law would be a disincentive for movies to be made here.

    China, Middle East to support RI tourism industry: Mari

    I liked this bit:

    Mari added that she would also target to bring more visitors from the Middle East to Indonesia, since many preferred Malaysia over Indonesia.

    A wild and crazy idea:

    Malaysia gives tourists free entry, while Indonesia charges $US25 per person for its tourist visa.

    The first thing Dr Pangestu could do to make Indonesia more internationally competitive would be to give tourists free entry like ten years ago.

    Doubt it will happen, though.

  6. avatar Oigal says:
    October 25th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Not to mention you can get from the airport to the city in Malaysia by freeway or in a modern clean safe train in under an hour. Let’s be honest, when you land in KL you get the impression that you have landed in a modern safe city. Jakarta is third world mayhem from the moment you land until you arrive at your hotel up to four hours later (try a rainy Friday night arrival). Keeping in mind that four hours is to travel about 25km.

    Can anyone really point out a touted tourist attraction that is not surrounded with empty water cups, mie packets and open sewers? Even a trip to the Manado islands is now more noteworthy for the rubbish in the water than the coral or diving.

  7. avatar deta says:
    October 27th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Doubt it will happen, though.

    That could happen. If the minister applied the same strategy in promoting tourism with the strategy she applied when she became the minister of trade, which is eliminating barriers to entry (literally, by eliminating the voa counters)

  8. avatar Chris says:
    October 27th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Deta,

    Thanks for your comment.

    That could happen. If the minister applied the same strategy in promoting tourism with the strategy she applied when she became the minister of trade, which is eliminating barriers to entry (literally, by eliminating the voa counters)

    Yes, maybe I was being too harsh.

    Indonesia did finally eliminate earlier this year fiskal (departure tax) after years of saying the country couldn’t afford it, needed the money, etc. However, I don’t think that was a the Tourism Minister’s decision.

    Similarly, visa/immigration matters are the responsibility of the Justice and Human Rights Minister. Perhaps the Tourism Minister could lobby for the abolition of the visa on arrival fee, but ultimately it’s not her call.

  9. avatar deta says:
    October 27th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    “Perhaps the Tourism Minister could lobby for the abolition of the visa on arrival fee, but ultimately it’s not her call.”

    Yes. Just like the cleanliness of toilet is not really her responsibility, the annoying traffic jam is not for her to solve, or the convenience of public transports is out of her scope of work. But still, all that factors have influence on the number of tourists visiting this country. So coordination is the key.

    Unfortunately, coordination is one of her weaknesses, judging from some conflicts she had previously with other ministers. But that’s a different story.

  10. avatar Chris says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    The latest bright idea from the Tourism Minister:

    In order to develop the tourism sector as a key driver of the country’s economy, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative industries plans to hold a major tourism conference in Jakarta next month.

    Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries Mari Elka Pangestu said in Jakarta on Monday that the event, the first ever national-level tourism conference, would be held from Dec. 5 to 6 this year and would be attended by business people, senior officials from both regional governments across the archipelago and central government.

    See the full text here.

    I’m not sure that this is the best idea – it could be NATO (No Action, Talk Only) – but I’ll withhold my judgment until I see the results.

  11. avatar Chris says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 10:56 am

    (Former Trade Minister, now) Tourism Minister Dr Pangestu is seeking a promotion, to WTO chief:

    Indonesia’s WTO candidate confident in credentials

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