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 August 29, 2000
Singapore Tourism Board Cooperation Package To Indonesia

 Singapore has confirmed a series of travel agent familiarisation trips over the next eight months to highlight Singapore and Indonesia as complementary holiday destinations. This is part of the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) commitment to the S$2 million Tourism Cooperation Package and will see travel agents from Korea, Japan and Taiwan and across Europe and North America visiting the two countries.

In total, the STB will be hosting about twelve familiarisation trips. Travel agents participating in the programme will use Singapore as a gateway to experience various Indonesian destinations including Bintan, Bali and Lombok.

"The twinning of Singapore with other nearby destinations, such as Indonesia, has always been a cornerstone of our regional tourism strategy," said Mr Asad Shiraz, Senior Director Tourism Marketing.

"Singapore offers one kind of Asian experience - the spirit of New Asia with all the comfort and convenience of a global city. On the other hand, neighbouring countries like Indonesia provide a glimpse into different cultures, showcase different cuisines and natural scenery. These two countries, in fact, offer a whole different tourism experience. For visitors, especially from long-haul markets, it really is a best-of-both-worlds twinning," he said.

These familiarisation trips also aim to highlight the Indonesian tourism industry's steady road to recovery and help travel agents see for themselves that Indonesia's tourism destinations are safe and hospitable for leisure and business travel.

The first familiarisation trip took place from July 10 to 15 this year, when a group of 13 travel agents from South Korea visited Singapore and Bintan.

Singapore is due to host the largest group of travel agents under this programme from August 27 to September 3. This group of 41 agents will be arriving from Germany to enjoy various sights and attractions in the Lion City before proceeding to Bali.

"This effort will help to sustain the momentum of tourism cooperation between the two countries, and support Indonesia in continuing its tourism promotion activities," said Mr Shiraz. "Of course, we should also put on record the support we have received from our industry partners, both here and in Indonesia. They are equally committed to seeing the Indonesian tourism sector take off in a big way as well."

The S$2 million Tourism Cooperation Package is part of the Singapore Government's S$1.2 billion assistance package for Indonesia and was announced by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in January this year.

The two countries had signed the Indonesia-Singapore Tourism Cooperation (ISTC) in September 1994. This Agreement called for the joint identification of new tourist destinations in Indonesia for joint marketing and promotion; facilitation of international investments in tourism developments and related infrastructure projects; and joint development and expansion of air links between Singapore and these Indonesian destinations. However due to the regional economic crisis in 1997, the ISTC had been suspended.

The STB firmly believes the Tourism Cooperation Package offered by the Singapore Government early this year will help Indonesia restart its tourism activities.

Already as the first phase of the package, Singapore sponsored 17 booths for Indonesia's participation at the 23rd PATA Travel Mart held in Singapore in April this year, a gesture that Indonesia says it appreciates.

Mr Udin Saifuddin, Deputy Minister for Tourism Marketing, State Ministry of Tourism and Art, Indonesia, remarked, "This cooperation package has enabled us to better sell Indonesia at PATA Travel Mart. We have been able to interest more buyers and stimulate the interest of the travel trade. With implementation of this next phase to host the series of familiarization trips, we are better able to follow up our efforts at PATA Travel Mart. We welcome this opportunity to work with Singapore Tourism Board so as to better showcase the appeal of our country to the world traveller."

And soon, an international advertising campaign will also be launched to promote the twin destinations of Singapore and Indonesia. Also part of the Tourism Cooperation Package, this is currently scheduled to start in the last quarter of this year. It will certainly ensure that the two countries remain in the minds of potential travellers to Southeast Asia.