The annual fair, Garuda Indonesia Travel Fair (GATF), is organised by Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia, to promote its domestic and international destinations. This year, it was attended by an estimated 60,000 middle-income Indonesian consumers looking to take advantage of special offers and discount deals offered by more than 100 exhibitors, including travel agents and overseas tourism boards.
Held between 9-11 November 2012 at Jakarta Convention Center, the show has just completed its fourth year and generated business estimated at over US$6 million. It is endorsed by major travel associations such as PATA, ASITA (Indonesia), ASTINDO (Indonesia) and fully supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Republic of Indonesia.
This was the second year of TAT’s participation. In order to stand out amidst the competition, the TAT highlighted its primary marketing theme, the concept of “Thainess,” with Thai cultural performances and Thai Fine Arts demonstration by artists and performers from Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University and Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre. This proved to be of great interest to the visitors.
Visitors who bought package tours to Thailand were also able to redeem gifts and Thai movie tickets for the popular Thai yuppie love-story movie, “My name is love” at the Thailand booth. Thai movies are becoming increasingly popular in Indonesia, especially love stories, horror and action films such as “Shutter” and “Ong Bak.”
Mr. Nithee Seeprae, director of the TAT Jakarta Office, said, “We see a lot of growth potential for Indonesian market, especially in the buildup to the ASEAN Economic Community. Indonesians don’t need visas to visit Thailand and there are numerous low-cost airlines operating between Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Denpasar to Bangkok and Phuket.”
He added, “This year was a good opportunity for us to present the concept of Thainess to the Indonesian market. We specifically highlighted the Loi Krathong Festival which will be held nationwide at the end of November, as well as new products and attractions for kids and family in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. Both are very important for the Indonesian family market.”
The popularity of the Thai booth earned it the best international booth award, with the judges complimenting its decor, quality of marketing activities and good cooperation with the organisers.
Mr. Nithee noted that as two million Indonesians visit Malaysia and Singapore each year, the time is ripe for them to travel beyond and see Thailand.
In 2011, arrivals from Indonesia numbered 370,681, up by 29.76%. Their expenditure per person per day was 4,500 baht (US$147) with average length of stay of six days.
In January-October 2012, Thailand welcomed 361,964 Indonesian visitors, up 14.81% over the same period of 2011 and is projected at over 420,000 for the full year, Mr. Nithee said.
Top five destinations for Indonesian visitors are Bangkok, Pattaya, Hat Yai, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. On the aviation front, as of November 2012, there were 57 direct scheduled flights per week between Thailand and Indonesia being operated by five airlines – Thai Airways International, Garuda Indonesia, Thai AirAsia, AirAsia (Indonesia), and Mandala Airlines.
Mr. Nithee complimented the fair organisers, Garuda Indonesia, noting that the airline was undergoing a significant change as part of a strategy known as “Quantum Leap 2015.” This involves a sweeping upgrade of all products and services, expansion of the fleet and route-net and improved distribution channels.
On the sidelines of the fair, Garuda Indonesia also launched a new tour and travel subsidiary called Garuda Indonesia Holiday (GIH), a joint venture between the airline and one of the country’s largest travel companies, Smailing Tour.