I went on a Fam Trip to discover Indonesia

If you work in tourism your favorite words are “fam trip”. But exactly what is a fam trip? It is a familiarization trip so that a travel agent gets to knows the destination he is going to promote and sell. Fam trips are usually organized by airlines or governments that have enough budget to invite agencies. Sometimes they are included in the marketing budget, but it is also possible for the private company to provide courtesies.

When I worked at Air Panama I had to organize some fam and press trips. But in this case I always went as the “chaperone” to make sure everything was in order and that the group saw the places.

At the beginning of the year I went to the Expo Turismo Internacional fair and visited the stand of the Indonesian embassy. I went because I had seen the posts and video blogs of my friends Diego de Obaldia and Rake Martinez. They went like influencers to know and promote the country. It certainly worked because it raised my curiosity and put the country on my list to visit.

After months of planning I finally received the good news that I was going to visit Indonesia. You can imagine my happiness! In total we were seven agencies, four from Panama (including mine: Panama Travel Group), one from Costa Rica, one from Nicaragua and one from Honduras. The Indonesian embassy is based in Panama, but also represents the other countries.

Indonesia bets on Latin tourism

Indonesia currently receives about 10 million tourists per year, but the government has the ambitious goal of reaching 20 million by 2019. As a result, they are betting on new markets such as the Latin American market that increasingly has a higher purchasing power. In addition, Latinos are starting to travel to more exotic places.

The trip took place at the end of September, beginning of October. In fact it is a very good season to visit since it is just after the end of the high season and it is before the rains begin. There are fewer tourists, which allows you to take better photos in crowded places like Borobudur and Prambaran.

10 days in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bali

We travel on KLM from Panama City to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. We left on Saturday at 7 p.m. and we arrived in Jakarta at 7 p.m. of Monday. Although there were 36 hours of travel, including a stop in Amsterdam, the total was 48 hours was due to the time change. Panama is 12 hours before Jakarta. This means that if it is 11 a.m. in Panama, in Jakarta it’s 11 p.m.

Jakarta is not a very tourist site, most of all it is a modern business and shopping city. We went to visit the National Museum and the National Monument, in addition to Jakarta Old Town where is the historic Cafe Batavia. I found it very funny that the locals wanted to take pictures with me, since they are not used to seeing as many tourists as in Bali. Surely I am the best friend in the profile picture of some Indonesians!

We also went to the Signatures restaurant for dinner at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta. The local food is delicious, but you must tell them that little or not spicy, since they love to put a lot! This was one of the best buffets I have ever eaten in my life.

Business meetings with Tour Operators and Hoteliers

In Jakarta we had a business conference with the Association of Travel Agencies and Tour Operators of Indonesia (ASITA). Each explained about our country and the style of clients of their agency. Then we had the opportunity to meet with the operators one by one to ask for packages.

In Bali we spend most of our time visiting hotels. Every night we stay in a different hotel, since the island has so many beautiful hotels. The first night we stayed in Sadara Boutique Beach Resort in the area of Nusa Dua. After in Villa Jerami in Seminyak, Sthala Resort by Marriott in Ubud and finally in Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort.

Bali is a big island, you should read my article In what area of Bali should I stay?

The business conference with hoteliers was in the Melia Bali in Nusa Dua. Today,  Nusa Dua is the area of large resorts and looks a bit like the type of development you would find in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. To this meeting came all the hoteliers we went to visit, apart from several tour operators who do activities such as diving, water tours, elephant rides and river rafting in Bali.

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