Banten, West Vice President Jusuf Kalla invited tourism business players to explore the diversity of the arts, culture, and natural scenery of Indonesia.

“Explore the natural richness of Indonesia and feel the hospitality of the people,” said the Vice President during the opening ceremony of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart 2016 held at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) BSD, South Tangerang, Banten, on Wednesday (Sept. 7).

The international tourism event in the Asia Pacific region is held for the second time in Indonesia and attended by 262 buyers from 56 countries, 219  companies, 416 delegates from 35 countries, and is covered by 65 media from 15 countries and 12 bloggers.

“We should be grateful to PATA for choosing Indonesia to host this event after the last time we hosted a similar event in 1974,” said the Vice President.

Earlier, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Arief Yahya said that this event is part of an effort to introduce Indonesia more widely throughout the world and to increase the number of tourists to the archipelago.

“During the event, we invited many tourism industries all over the world to invest in new destinations in Indonesia with easy access to investment,” said Minister Yahya.

He further said that his ministry is targeting 12 million tourists coming to Indonesia in 2016 is. This number, he added, is expected to increase to 20 million tourists in 2019.

Meanwhile, the PATA Chairman Andrew Jones stated, Indonesia is the right country to host PATA Travel Mart 2016.

“For me, the slogan ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ is not just a slogan. I used to live in Yogyakarta and Bali, so I know how it feels to live in Indonesia. I know how beauty the country is and I am happy to be back here,” said Mr. Jones, adding that PATA Travel Mart aims to build relationships between businesses and organizations in the field of tourism and to introduce tourist destinations of each country participating.

At the event, Indonesia also promotes 10 new priorities of tourist destinations, called the New Bali, namely Lake Toba (North Sumatra), Tanjung Kelayang (Bangka Belitung), Tanjung Lesung (Banten), the Thousand Islands (Jakarta), Borobudur (Central Java), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara), Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi), Bromo Tengger Semeru (East Java), Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), and Morotai (North Maluku).