TRAVEL + LEISURE

WHOOSH HIGH-SPEED TRAIN SPARKS TOURISM RENAISSANCE IN BANDUNG: A GAME-CHANGER FOR INDONESIA'S TRAVEL LANDSCAPE

Revolutionizing Travel: Whoosh Attracts Southeast Asian Tourists, Paves the Way for Bandung's Tourism Boom

20.11.2023
BY WILHEMINA BOWEN
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Indonesia's inaugural high-speed train, Whoosh, has not only revolutionized travel between Jakarta and Bandung but has become a tourist attraction in itself, according to Indonesian travel industry insiders. The cutting-edge train service, which commenced operations at the beginning of October, has accelerated the interest of both domestic and Southeast Asian tourists in exploring Bandung and its surrounding areas.

Nuning Widya, director of Mentari Tour, highlighted that Whoosh has become a major draw for travelers. Her agency is set to welcome several groups, totaling around 100 people, from Southeast Asia this month for a three- to five-day Jakarta-Bandung tour, utilizing the high-speed train.

Marintur Indonesia has also embraced the demand for Whoosh experiences, incorporating the high-speed rail into their tour packages. Managing director Hasiyanna Ashadi emphasized that tourists are eager to arrive early to experience the unprecedented speed of the train. Additionally, Whoosh's introduction has allowed for the creation of a more diverse range of tours along the Jakarta-Bandung route.

Despite the excitement surrounding Whoosh, concerns have been raised about the feeder services connecting the final Whoosh stop in Tegalluar to Bandung city. Limited services and an unreliable schedule have prompted worries about potential delays for passengers. In response, travel agencies are devising solutions during the ongoing trial period. Nuning Widya revealed that her agency would pick up guests from Tegalluar station and utilize toll roads to transport them to Bandung city, ensuring a more reliable and timely journey.

The Whoosh ticket, priced from 300,000 rupiah (US$19), includes a feeder train service to and from Bandung. To encourage early adoption, a 50% discount is currently applied for the month of November.

Nuning acknowledged that without the promotional discount and the unreliable feeder train service, guests might incur additional expenses for Tegalluar station pick-ups. However, she emphasized that, even with the added cost, Whoosh remains a more time-efficient option compared to other modes of transport.

While a Whoosh journey is more expensive than a Jakarta-Bandung shuttle bus service, the high-speed train drastically cuts travel time, reducing the trip from three hours by car to just 45 minutes. Notably, the domestic flight between Jakarta and Bandung is currently the most expensive option.

Looking ahead, industry leaders foresee Whoosh attracting European and American tourists interested in overland trips. Hasiyanna Ashadi expressed optimism, stating, "Whoosh gives more tour options," providing travelers the opportunity to explore Bandung and its surroundings during their journeys.

Jongki Adiyasa, executive director of Ina Leisure Tour and Travel, expressed hope for the expansion of the high-speed rail network across Java, including routes to Surabaya. Adiyasa believes this expansion would be a game-changer for Indonesia, playing a pivotal role in leading the development of the country's tourism sector.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo hailed Whoosh as "a symbol of Indonesia's modernization in public transport that is environmentally friendly." As the high-speed train continues to gain popularity, it appears to be driving a positive shift in tourism dynamics, positioning Bandung as a must-visit destination for both local and international travelers.

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