POST-pandemic, travel restrictions were removed, revenge tourism euphoria and overtourism cases flourished in several regions at home and abroad. So, I have to refresh, which destination to go on holiday?

For me, looking for a destination for a holiday abroad is similar to looking for books in a bookstore. Just as interesting. Starting from being interested in the title and image on the front cover, then examining the summary of the premise and diction of the book I was holding. Friends, I believe that marketing science says people don’t buy products, they buy emotions and there is an influence of social validation there.

So, what attracts my attention to decide my next holiday destination? You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are! What is certain is that the first question is “what is there?”

Other travelers — in my opinion — do something similar, namely starting from compiling the top-most-priorities to read and discuss again with travel companions — part of finalizing planning and finalizing it. Very subjective. And we haven’t talked about climate change regarding our holiday plans.

Then, if we think of ourselves as “tourists” who are interested in holidaying in Indonesia, carrying the new generation traveler genre, namely Millennials, iGeneration and Alphas born in the 1990s and 2000s, what do you think will attract our attention?

Of the total of 17,504 islands alone, it is impossible for us to visit, experience the life of the Indonesian archipelago, even if we enjoy it using a sabbatical period of 30 days. However – note – we can visit Indonesia repeatedly and land on different islands – island hopping, depending on the purpose of the experience we want to have.

In my mind, one of the generators of interest for Indonesia is the choice of future travelers through people – its diverse ethnicities and cultures make Indonesia have the potential for thematic destinations. Can Indonesia develop special interests according to the historical geographical characteristics of its people and islands? It’s not just exploitation of nature.

So, then the niche market share is formed, then the promotional target is clear and the quota for tourist visits can be determined. There is no need for cases of overtourism – Here, we can talk more about destinations and their quality of tourism – which includes the length of stay and spending power of tourists who are visiting.

Let’s try to uncover the history of the archipelago. We must admit that the Indonesian people are far behind in their mastery of English and other foreign languages compared to several ASEAN member countries. But Indonesia can still excel if it can develop experience.

Packages can be created, for example, Historical Travel Packages, Legend Packages, Archeology Anthropology Packages, Palace Packages, Living Laboratory Packages and many more. Specifically for the Living Laboratory Package, I can compare Galapagos in Ecuador with Flobamora in NTT (East Nusa Tenggara Islands).

Do not forget! I’m thinking about how to attract the interest and attention of potential future travelers. The key is mastering technology, and making Indonesia a reliable digital destination. All packages offered and sold must be integrated, ethically, socially and legally safely. Starting from various types of accommodation, food destinations according to the region by promoting exotic food that can be consumed by international tourists according to the character of the region.

Don’t forget that there is an educational mission in providing experiences to tourists. One of them is teaching tourists to gain experience interacting with local residents by taking public transportation (angkot) from one point to another, and can even teach them to choose public transportation between cities such as using buses and trains/electricity.

What about cultural packages?
I personally am very interested in culture. Indonesia is really rich! Each region has its own strengths. From dance, fine arts, sculptures and others, which can be integrated into the Archipelago History Package — for certain regions — or even the Legends Package which is told from folk tales such as Balingkang Dewi Danu in Kintamani Bali.

To make all of these tourism programs a success, Indonesia needs Story Tellers as tourism ambassadors. In terms of sales and marketing, sellers are needed, marketers who master storytelling strategies, supported by an equal team of content creators. And still be guided by the Global Tourism Code of Ethics and the Indonesian journalistic code of ethics — even if you are not a journalist.

We, future travelers, need comfortable access and infrastructure
The success of the one package, one destination program requires the support of the local community. Insufficient outreach is carried out by the government as facilitator, as well as by travel business people. Continuous outreach and training should be carried out by relevant stakeholders. This is partly government work with private support to implement and develop it.

What is the destination like? Even though the location is remote, current needs or modernization needs must still be provided. For example, international standard MCK (Bathing, Washing, Toilet), transportation, convenience stores, non-cash payment tools (tourist cards and virtual), APPS of the Destination. All travelers need easy mobility with all integrated and accurate information. Maybe someone has been to Singapore and London? In these two cities I am very comfortable for easy and cheap mobility during my visit.

One more thing, do I have an interest in destinations in Indonesia that implement environmentally friendly actions? Yes, this is a global trend, green and sustainable tourism. Of course, it would be interesting if there are islands in Indonesia that are ready to demonstrate “free chemical” technology for their daily lives. Starting from agriculture, packaging to waste management. I will experience staying a few nights here. There are definitely lessons to take home.

So, once again the quality of a product, including tourism products, is very subjective. It all depends on what experience the viewer feels at that time. For a concrete example, let’s go to guest review sites such as Tripadvisor, Google Reviews. Is the content from one review to another the same for the same product with different audiences? So that is evidence of subjectivity.

My written thoughts on how or how to attract the attention of tourists in general are still very “narrow”, compared to Indonesia’s extraordinary potential. From my slogan, My Travel My Adventure, there are emotional outbursts that make me interested in visiting a destination.

For example, because of the interesting historical story, wanting to get an experience told by other people, rarity/scarcity or exclusivity, type of tourist, exoticism of local tribes, security guarantee, suitable for taking photos that can be retold, heritage, history, spiritual experience, affordable – fits your budget, lots of time to use including travel time to reach interesting destinations.

In the end, Indonesia must be able to sell by transferring feelings —storytelling skills in all dimensions. Understanding a traveler’s “wants” and needs is like a fiction story that becomes non-fiction, becomes reality. Not just hard sales by highlighting “This is our superior product”.

[Written by Jeffrey Wibisono V. @namakubrandku Telu Learning and Consulting for Hospitality Industry and General Manager Java Lotus Hotel Jember]