By Abu Hanifah
JAKARTA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- In a bid to address the aim to improve fairer economic distribution among the society in 2017 and 2018 expressed by Indonesian president, the nation's core business sector of tourism has set programs to materialize the drive.
The drive was intended to assure people in getting direct positive impacts from national development process, reduce social gap among the society.
It was initially voiced out by Indonesian President Joko Widodo in a cabinet meeting earlier this year. He said that fair economy distribution issue remains a major challenge in the nation that has yet to be resolved.
"We have to struggle for it, assuring inclusive fair economy distribution for the people regardless their political background, ethnicity and religion," the president said in the cabinet meeting held in Bogor presidential palace.
Through its orchestrated programs set for this year, the tourism ministry is upbeat to assure well implementation of the drive, get quick positive impacts for the people.
"We have set e-tourism, homestay and flight expansions as our pillar programs that embody overall coordinated programs in our ministry," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.
The digital marketplace of e-tourism program, initiated last year, would give people involved in tourism businesses to directly interact with their potential consumers, the minister said.
He added that e-tourism program is facilitated by indigenously-designed ITX (Indonesian Travel Exchange) digital system, allowing people to showcase their products, hotels and accommodations related to tourism business for global buyers.
The e-tourism program would literally manifest the economic sharing mechanism among the people as it can inclusively be used by national businessmen, including those from Small-Middle Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
"They can do the transactions on real time basis with their online business counterparts. We provide full facilities for them, including operational assistance, booking system and payment engines," the minister said.
He added that the ITX would be very useful for over 58 million SME firms across the nation intending to indulge in tourism business by selling souvenirs or other related necessities.
Meanwhile, the homestay program would intensively be built around the nation's prominent tour destinations, including in the new ten ones now developed by government so as to comply with national tourism targets.
The new ten tour destinations were Lake Toba, Tanjung Kelayang in Bangka Belitung, Jakarta's resort island, Tanjung Lesung in Banten, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Bromo volcano in East Java, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi and Morotai in Maluku.
Those new ten tour destinations are highly expected to par with resort island of Bali in attracting foreign tourists.
Arief said development of homestays was intended to directly involve people in tourism sector to make them get the instant economy benefit from the sector.
The ministry has set gradual targets in the program, 20,000 ones were set for this year, 30,000 by 2018 and 50,000 by 2019.
Thanks to the supports pledged by national banking sector, the minister said that fund assistance would be provided for those interested to run homestay in their residences.
"The business is simple, we will provide 150 million rupiah (about 11,200 U.S. Dollars) with down payment of 1 percent from total loan, 20 years loan service tenure and fixed 5 percent interest rate," the minister said.
To assure flight connectivity, the ministry would intensively embrace domestic and international airlines from several countries to provide direct flights to tour destinations across the country.
The effort is coupled by expanding airport infrastructure and flight managements so as to assure best flight accommodation for foreign visitors to get into Indonesia.
Tourism becomes a key sector since the present government declared it as the nation's core business, brushing aside major earner sectors of oil and gas, coal and palm oil.
Indonesia expects to earn 200 trillion rupiah (about 14 billion U.S. Dollars) from tourism sector this year with 15 million foreign visitors targeted throughout the year.
Southeast Asia's largest economy has set a target to welcome 20 million foreign visitors, earn more than 24 billion U.S. Dollars from the sector by 2019.