Indonesian tour operators have long relied on social media to connect with customers.
But with the rise of e-commerce, and a new generation of tourists seeking a more personalised experience, the focus has shifted to what they say is a new business model.
In Indonesia, there is a growing interest in online retail, but the company that dominates the space is Borneo’s EK Tours, which has been around for almost 20 years.
The company, which employs about 400 people, has become known for its “big, bold” logo, which features a three-armed eagle in a circle with a red line, and its distinctive white-and-gold colour scheme.
Borneos first visitors to Indonesia are likely to be tourists who are looking for a memorable adventure in Bornean beauty, but now the brand has diversified into accommodation, travel, and leisure, according to Bornea’s Tourism Minister, Wissam Yassim.
“The tourism industry is changing dramatically, and we are going to see a lot more of our tourists coming to Indonesia,” he said.
EK Tours’ “big bold” sign is seen at a tourist site in Baguio province, Indonesia.
Bornean Tourism Minister Wissim Yassims office in Baga, Indonesia, in 2016.
The company has been working with the Borneans government and the Tourism Development Department to establish its business model and create “a positive and safe environment for its tourists” to come, Mr Yassimi said.
“Our goal is to build a relationship with our guests, who will benefit from the expertise, experiences and information that we bring to them,” he told The Straits Times.
While the company has focused on the tourism sector, the company says it is also investing heavily in e-business, which it says is the fastest growing part of its business.
The number of online e-retail businesses in Indonesia has grown by 40 per cent to 2,800 this year, the tourism ministry says.
Mr Yassimo said the company is also developing a network of ecommerce hubs, including the popular tourist destinations of Bali and Penang.
It is also expanding its network of hotels, catering and other accommodation facilities.
According to EK Tourist Group’s 2016 annual report, Borneas total number of guests was 531,000, with about 1.4 million staying overnight in the company’s hotels and hotels-by-the-sea resorts.
With the expansion of hotels and accommodation, the number of international arrivals has also increased.
Last year, Indonesia was home to more than 9 million foreign visitors, up from 532,000 in 2015.
Despite these increases, BTS says that the number and type of people who visit Indonesia are changing rapidly.
According to the BTS, the population of Indonesia will grow by almost 40 per-cent by 2036.
This is mainly due to the growth in China and South-East Asia, but also due to a decline in Europe, which is also experiencing an economic slowdown, the travel and tourism ministry said.BTS says there is an opportunity for Indonesia to become a major tourist destination in Asia, with an emphasis on the region’s rich history.
There are currently more than 5 million people living in Indonesia, and there are an estimated 70,000 hotels, restaurants, bars and night clubs, according the company.
But Mr Yasim said the growth of the tourism industry was driven by a growing demand for accommodation, as well as a shift from spending on sightseeing to other leisure activities.
Tourism is an integral part of BTS’ strategy, and it wants to keep the number at about 500,000 guests a year in the coming years, he said, adding that the company also plans to expand its hotels to cater for larger groups of guests.
One of the biggest challenges facing the company in Indonesia is how to keep people interested in BTS while also managing the logistics of their visits, he added.
Even though there are many new technologies available, there are still a few things the company cannot yet offer to its visitors, such as a digital map of the island or a map of its restaurants.
For its guests, BPT also offers a “virtual tour” of Borneoes famous temples, parks, museums and attractions, with a focus on the temples.
A tour of the Banyan tree, which sits on Banyang island, in Banyo province, Bali, Indonesia in 2016, according Banyas tourism ministry.
To meet this demand, the BPT has started to offer a “live-in experience” to visitors, with hotels offering a virtual tour, where visitors can stay in their room or be accompanied by an official.
Banyans Ministry of Tourism has also set up a “digital tour” service for tourists.
At the moment, Banya’s tourism ministry