Plans underway to promote Likupang as priority destination

Indonesia’s Likupang has seen a boom in visitors after earning its status as one of Indonesia’s top five tourist destinations.

Located in the North Minahasa Regency of North Sulawesi Province, Likupang welcomed almost 70 percent of arrivals to the larger regency. The Regency recorded 20,317 arrivals in the first seven months of 2022, including 2,815 foreigners.

Likupang has seen an increase in visitor numbers since it was named one of Indonesia’s top five tourist destinations

In 2021, a total of 15,338 came into the regency, of which 1,443 were international travellers.

Henry Kaitjily, head of the North Sulawesi Tourism Bureau, said at a webinar promoting the destination to members of the Association of Travel Agents in Indonesia (ASTINDO), Likupang was developed with the goal of attracting more local and international travelers to the north -Sulawesi to lure .

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He shared, “The development of Likupang is integrated with the neighboring areas of North Minahasa City, Bitung, Manado, Tomohon and Tindano. We hope this will encourage travelers to stay longer in North Sulawesi.”

The development plays to Likupang’s natural attractions and maximizes its marine potential as “blue gold” and the mainland as “green gold”. Glamping sites, resorts and tourism villages are planned, while eco-friendly transportation will be offered.

To help develop tourism in Likupang, travel companies in North Sulawesi have started to create packages.

Kristian Repi, General Manager of Manggis Travel Manado, shared that his company has been offering package tours to Likupang since 2019. For 2021/2022 interest rates will rise by a further 70 percent.

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While the domestic market currently dominates 90 percent of sales, it has received more bookings for overnight package holidays, proving travelers have come from other parts of Sulawesi and beyond.

“Travellers from the surrounding areas, such as Manado (the provincial capital), usually take a day trip,” he explained, adding that Likupang’s development concept is suitable for travelers with special interests, “who are ready for island areas, homestays and… adventurous destination”.

Pauline Suharno, President of ASTINDO, believes further developments are needed to attract both local and international travellers.

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“The problem is that most accommodations are host families. Although they are (newly) built by Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing with good facilities, not all markets are (like) homestay,” she said.

Despite good facilities, existing hotels need to improve their service standards, she added.

Pauline also explained that more location-based promotions were needed to attract foreign tourists and that she should emphasize accessibility, e.g. B. Direct access to Sam Ratulangi International Airport.

She’s also hoping for more F&B facilities that can accommodate large groups.

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