Christopher Chung, area director of sales and distribution Indonesia with Marriott International, is with a delegation of Bali based hoteliers that are hosting a retail travel trade breakfast in Auckland this morning, followed by training and educational sessions, then a wholesalers lunch tomorrow. The group then heads for a day of agent visits in Christchurch. Chung says that while Bali and its own diverse offerings are the key focus of the trade mission, there is no doubt that increased accessibility through Denpasar from Auckland also opens up other parts of the country. ‘We have 47 hotels in Indonesia across 15 brands and we do definitely see opportunities for travel agents to spread their clients out to different islands. For example we opened a Marriott in Jogyakarta (Java) just last year and that is an amazing destination for people seeking something a bit different.’
The spectacular and ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan are among the highlights here. He says the exotic and unspoiled destination of Komodo, famous for its dragons, is also easy for clients to reach from Marriott’s new hotel in Labuanbajo in the neighbouring island of Florés. The Sheraton Senggigi, reopens in Lombok in December following the devastating earthquake there. At the same time, Chung says agents should encourage clients to look differently at Bali itself – an island where Marriott has 18 hotels ‘and growing.’ He says a new Aloft will open in Seminyak next year, joining a W, a Courtyard and a Four Points. But he also urges Kiwis to consider more than the beach resorts of Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua. ‘For example, Lovina is a lovely place. For us it is not just about selling bricks and mortar it’s about the culture and the people and the experiences of the destination.