LOS ANGELES -- Reacting to a downturn in visitors following several
recent U.S. State Department travel advisories, Indonesia is
inviting U.S. travelers to spend three nights in a number of hotels
throughout Bali, Lombok and Java for free.
Thomas Steinmetz, joint chief executive officer for the
Indonesia Council of Tourism Partners, said Indonesia has joined
forces with two U.S. tour companies, Darshan Tours in Honolulu and
LA Express Travel in Los Angeles, to handle travel arrangements for
Americans who want to take advantage of the offer.
Travel agents would earn a commission on the air fare portion of
the trip (air fare is not included), as well as on any additional
hotel nights or tours that clients book.
Steinmetz said the tourist board is in "preliminary discussions"
with Malaysia Airlines about setting aside a certain number of
reduced-cost seats to sell during the promotion, which is in effect
"This [promotion] is the response by the tourism office to
recent travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department," said
Steinmetz. "We want American travelers to know most of Indonesia is
a safe and affordable vacation destination."
Steinmetz said Indonesia has enlisted the support of a number of
top hotel chains in the country, including the Century Group of
Hotels and Alam Kul Kul.
Among the inbound operators handling land arrangements are
Visitur, Pacto Tours and Api Tours, which have agreed to donate
free half-day sightseeing excursions and airport transfers.
"The majority of U.S. tourists visiting Indonesia, I would say
90%, go to Bali, and there are no problems there," said Jessie
Dillon, manager of LA Express Travel, which has been selling
Indonesia for two years.
"If this promotion works, people will come back with positive
experiences, they will tell their friends and they will want to
go," said Dillon.
Steinmetz said the tourist board is lobbying other U.S. tour
operators and Indonesian hotel companies and suppliers to join the
The U.S. State Department last October issued a public
announcement telling Americans traveling to Indonesia or East Timor
and West Timor to exercise caution, warning the country was
experiencing a violent political transition. Indonesia has
restricted the travel of U.S. and other foreign government
officials and tourists to Aceh, Papua and the Moluccas.
In response to the travel warnings, the Indonesia tourist board
established a 24-hour help line in Indonesia (021-720-2235) for
For additional information, call 866-INDONESIA or visit the Web