Jakarta, 18 Dzulqa’dah 1435/13 September 2014 (MINA) – Flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia kicked off its second Garuda Indonesia Travel Fair (GATF) on Friday, focusing on tourism in eastern Indonesia amid increasing demand for travel from the domestic market.
“Through this travel fair, we’ll introduce our new destinations, including Labuan Bajo, Ende and Bima in East Nusa Tenggara; Bau Bau and Kolaka in Southeast Sulawesi; Jember and Banyuwangi in East Java; and other destinations in Papua,” Garuda president director Emirsyah Satar said.
Garuda has operated three new routes since Sept. 1, namely Makassar-Kolaka, Makassar-Bau Bau and Mataram-Sumbawa Besar, West Nusa Tenggara, The Jakarta Post quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The airline is also planning to link Manado, North Sulawesi, to Raja Ampat, West Papua, by the end of this year to entice more foreign tourists to the country’s most popular diving destination.
Tourism and Creative Economy Deputy Minister Sapta Nirwandar said during the launch of the fair that the government fully encouraged Garuda to open more domestic routes to boost economic growth in provinces outside Java.
“When a destination is visited by Garuda, the economy in the area grows better,” Sapta said.The number of GATF visitors has continued to increase since it was first held in 2009, when 25,000 visitors attended.
The number grew to 51,000 in 2012 and now the three-day fair, which is being held at the Jakarta Convention Center, is expected to draw 80,000 visitors, according to Emirsyah.
The first travel fair of this year was held in April and recorded a total of 44,724 visitors, with ticket sales reaching Rp 70.8 billion (US$5.9 million). Garuda has targeted to net Rp 120 billion in ticket sales during this event.
The airline is offering a 20 percent discount for both domestic and international destinations during the fair. Garuda’s subsidiary, low-cost carrier Citilink, is also offering 10 percent off for all destinations.
In addition to more affordable prices offered during the fair, state-owned lender Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is also offering perks for customers who buy travel packages using its bank accounts.
On its first day, the fair attracted big crowds as long lines were seen at the entrance of the venue. One of the visitors, Nandia, 24, a private sector employee, said it was her second time visiting the GATF.
“I’m hoping to get an affordable ticket to Barcelona as I am planning to go on vacation there,” she said. “However, since there are a lot of interesting offers, I may be up for getting tickets to other destinations that are offered by Garuda,” she added.(T/P009/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)