A lot more than just Bali to ponder

The Statesman
Written by: Swaati Chaudhury

For Bengal tourists who are bitten by wanderlust big time, here’s a delightful destination worth exploring that will cost next to nothing.
We’re talking about Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world with as many as 400 volcanic mountains.

The island of Bali has a large number of culturally significant sights and is the most visited destination for not only Indians but also visitors from across the world. But there’s more because Indonesia is not only confined to Bali but also boasts the renowned Stupa of Borobudur in Java that forms the chief attraction for Indian travellers.

As a first step to entice tourists from Bengal to Indonesia, the the tourism ministry of that country chose only Kolkata and Ahmedabad to host its Sales Mission India 2016 recently. There was the Badung Tourism Promotion Board to showcase the wonders of the region in Kolkata.

Both countries share old historic ties in culture and trade and Herdy D Sayogha, vice-chairman of the Badung Tourism Promotion Board said, “Indian tourist arrivals in Bali have risen in the last fiscal year that depicts the enormous tourism potential of the country. There are no such language barriers in India that make it easy for us to adapt ourselves with the culture of the country as compared to China. We wish to explore the tourist potential of Kolkata that has remained untapped. We have roped in 75 travel agents in Kolkata to pull in more tourists from Bengal.”

Dody Prianto, assistant deputy director, Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia, said, “The Stupa of Borobudur not only has the temples of Vishnu, Ganesha, Brahma and Lord Shiva but also the deity of all vehicles of the Hindu pantheon. We are trying to create 10 new tourist hotspots like Bali. India happens to be the seventh largest tourist market for Indonesia.”

Kolkata is closest to Indonesia as compared to other Indian metros and Dody Prianto said, “There are emerging tourist getaways like Batam and Bintang in Sumatra that take only four and a half hours’ flying time from Kolkata, with a stopover in Singapore. Both these destinations boast of rainforests and national parks. Sumatra has the largest population of Indians residing in Indonesia.

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