On the 15th until 17th November 2015, Tourism Selangor and Selangor State Economic Planning Unit’s (UPEN) Tourism Division held a Business-to-Business (B2B) table top session in Batam, Indonesia. The objective of the B2B session was for Selangor to promote itself as a tourism destination to the Batam market.
Tourism Selangor selected and handpicked tourism players and product owners in Selangor such as hotels, medical tourism providers and travel agents to join the session. Besides B2B, there was also a government-to-government (G2G) session between the Selangor State Government and Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The discussions held during both sessions intended to boost tourism in both Selangor and Batam through partnership and cross selling and marketing. Some of the activities identified were the development of advertisements through various channels to reach the audience, among them buntings and billboards. A promotional campaign featuring the diversity of culture and heritage of both destinations was also explored.
“It is important for us to keep this healthy relationship between Selangor and Indonesia in helping each other in one of the most important contribution to the economy and tourism,” said the Assistant Selangor State Executive Councillor for Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs YBhg Gan Pei Nei.
It is convenient for Malaysians and international tourists to visit Batam now since Malindo Air offers one daily flight directly to the island from Subang Skypark Airport. This is a boon to those based in the Klang Valley as they do not need to go down to Johor or Singapore to take the ferry ride to Batam any longer. From Batam, travellers are also able to access Selangor by flying on Malindo Air’s turnaround flight.
Batam’s main tourist arrivals still come from Singapore, its next door neighbour. Gaya Travel Magazine was informed that Singaporeans usually stay over in Batam for two days and one night, enough time for them to stock up on snacks, aromatherapy oils and the popular Batam layered cakes. Some even come for the spas and massages that are much more affordable compared to what they have to pay in Singapore.
Batam also has 10 golf resorts that attract international golfers. Some of the golf resorts even hosts huge annual corporate events. The golf courses available on the island are world-class. For non-Indonesian golfers who would like a change of scenery are recommended to consider Batam.
Gaya Travel Magazine, together with the trip organisers Tourism Selangor, had the opportunity to explore Batam a little further on one of the nights we were there. Even though we didn’t have much time, we engaged a local tour guide to help us understand Batam better. From him, we learned that Batam’s strength as a tourist destination lies more on the golf resorts and shopping. The city centre also has come things to see; however, due to limited time, we visited Nagoya Shopping mall to check on the products being sold. Since Batam is a duty free island, clothing items are cheap, but not that much when it comes to electronics.
At Nagoya, there are also opportunities for tourists to try out the local dishes, as there are many restaurants and stalls there. Closed to the mall is a place that is popular with satay Padang (pieces of meat on skewers originated from the city called Padang on the island of Sumatera). Since we were already within the area, we decided to try it. There are various types of satay available such as beef, chicken, liver and even intestines. We opted for the usual beef and chicken and they were delicious! The gravy that we dipped the satay into before wolfing them down was excellent, which was spicier than what we are used to in Malaysia but not too oily and thick.
We then toured around Batam, witnessing the many electronic factories that are scattered throughout the island, sustaining its economy. We were told that the majority of the workforce on the island are females. The guide said that the ratio was four females to one male at the factories. The women hailed from other Indonesian provinces and cities such as Bandung, Jakarta, Aceh and Bintan. We even learned that there are malls built specifically for these factory workers for them to release stress and be entertained.
When it was time to leave, we realise that there is more to Batam than meets the eyes, and looks like a return visit is warranted for us to learn more about the island in a more personal manner.
Gaya Travel Magazine would like to say thank you to Tourism Selangor for taking us to Batam, Indonesia.