On 26 March 2010, the Embassy in cooperation with Burgas Municipality held a seminar with the theme ‘Business Opportunity with Indonesia’ that were attended by 40 business representatives, tour operators and local mass media from Burgas and surrounding cities. Ambassador Inkiriwang as the speaker of the seminar stated that the opportunity to further increase economic relations between Indonesia and Bulgaria, in particular on trade, investment and tourism, is very open especially since Bulgaria joined the EU on 1 January 2007. Bulgaria has a very strategic location in the Balkans and in Southeastern Europe. Bulgaria’s two important modern international ports in Varna and Burgas made it possible for Bulgaria to act as a hub for Indonesia’s products to emerging markets in the region, as well as a hub to other European markets. The Ambassador added that Indonesia’s main products have very good quality and competitive price compared to similar products from other countries.
Although Bulgaria is still in an economic crisis, Ambassador Inkiriwang encouraged businesses in Bulgaria not to passively wait but instead to be active in exploring business opportunities, especially with Indonesia. Thus Bulgaria will be ready to come in full swing once economic recoveries are taking place. Government of Bulgaria predicted that economic recovery will start on the second semester of 2010. As a proof how businesses in Bulgaria understand the good opportunity in doing business with Indonesia, 20 business executives participated in Business and Tourism Trip 2009 program in Indonesia, October-November 2009. Furthermore, there was significant increase in investment from Bulgaria to Indonesia in 2009 (USD 4 million) in various sectors; fertilizers (in Kalimantan), milk (in Central Java), trade, business consultancy and hotels (in Bali).
The Ambassador further stated that the attractiveness of Indonesia as a tourist destination does not depend on the seasons. The number of Bulgarians visiting Indonesia shows positive trend, as well as their spending. This positive trend has been supported by visa on arrival facilities given by the Government of Indonesia to Bulgarians since 2007. In general, businessmen who visited Indonesia for tourism purposes later saw interesting and promising businesss opportunity during their stay.
Some participants to the seminar stated their interest on Indoensia’s main products such as furniture, construction materials, textile, foodstuff, industrial products, health products, handicraft and spa. A participant who is a member of the Bulgarian Retailers Association stated his interest to arrange a meeting between Ambassador Inkiriwang and members of his association, in response to the Ambassador’s encouragement to supply Indonesia’s foodstuff to supermarkets in Bulgaria. In addition, an owner of a major travel agency stated his interest to cooperate with a travel agency in Indonesia and will send large groups of Bulgarian tourists to Indonesia starting from this year.
Before attending the seminar, Ambassador Inkiriwang, was received by the Mayor of Burgas, Dimitar Nikolov. The Mayor expressed his appreciation for the willingness of the Ambassador to give presentation in the seminar. He added that the seminar would encourage better understanding among local businesses about the opportunity in doing business with Indonesia. The Mayor also expressed his willingness to receive a delegation lead by the Governor of North Sumatra and the Mayor of Medan, scheduled in May this, year and had a discussion with the Ambassador regarding the preparation of establishing a sister city relations between the city of Medan in Indonesia and Burgas.