Amb. Eddy Pratomo (Ambassador of Indonesia to Germany)

11.03.2011 - Interview conducted by Agnieszka Mystek

Q1. In January 2011, the Tourism and Culture Minister Jero Wacik announced that “Wonderful Indonesia” would replace the previous “Visit Indonesia” as the nation’s official tourism campaign. In what ways does the new campaign make a departure from the previous one in its efforts to brand Indonesian tourism?

We have decided to use new terminology of “Wonderful Indonesia” because we are trying to inform the international community that Indonesia is a very wonderful place. We have wonderful nature, people, food and infrastructure. At the same time, to convey that Indonesia is very much worth to be seen by tourists from around the world, including from Europe and especially from Germany.

Q2. One of the challenges for Indonesian tourism is to expand tourism to more rural areas of Indonesia. How has the Indonesian government attempted to develop tourism in the more remote areas of Indonesia?

Since Indonesia is consisting of so many different islands and they are divided by water, we are trying to have more and more ships that could connect people and go from one island to another. We are working very closely with certain ship builders here in Germany, so that the tourism destinations in more remote areas can also be seen by our tourist guests from around the world. The more remote areas are very much preserving their nature, so we should very much be proud of being good protectors of our nature, including forested areas.

Q3. International tourism in developing countries is generally centered on attracting visitors from industrialized countries, which can result in unequal trade relations. Does regional tourism development represent any new and viable prospects for regional economic improvement and partnership?

Well yes, so far we have attached great importance to the tourists, not only from our region but also from other regions. In terms of the economic development, I think we are very much open to it. In the era of globalization, we cannot close the doors. We are open 24 hours. So anyone who will visit Indonesia, I think we are very much prepared to offer them better services.

Q4. The perception of a country as being a safe and peaceful place to travel is crucial to a nation’s national brand abroad. How has Indonesia dealt with the threat of terrorism and its implications for Indonesia as a travel destination?

Indonesia is very proud of being to settle and address the root causes of terrorism in Indonesia. I think it has been very successful in tackling the threat of terrorism and those who have been responsible for terrorism have been brought to justice in accordance with the rule and regulations of Indonesia. We are also working very closely with other countries to deal with transnational organized crime and terrorism. We are developing mutual benefit corporations to deal with this one. It is important to deal with the threat of instability in the field of the political economy in order to avoid any adverse consequences for our tourist visitors from foreign countries.

Q5. To what extent did cultural diplomacy play a role in the 2005 peace agreements between the Indonesian government and the armed separatist groups in Aceh?

Cultural diplomacy is very much important in connecting people to other people. Diplomacy is not only exercised by the government officials, but it can also be performed by anybody else. Being citizens of the world, I think we connect each other through cultural traditions. The value of culture is very important to be understood by other communities of the international community. We have connected communications, we will better know each other and then we will believe each other. Understanding is very much important in the international community and also in cooperation of several countries, including Indonesia.

Thank you so much for your time and enjo