When your Indonesian business friends come to your country for a visit, you should make sure that you make a lot of time available for them and not plan a really tight program. Indonesians have a relaxed understanding of time and are more likely to go with the flow rather than adhere to a strict schedule. You will save yourself a lot of unnecessary hassle if you approach matters with the same relaxed attitude. Let your guests wander about on their own as well; Indonesians don’t expect you to take care of them around the clock.
Arrival and accommodation
First, however, you will have to pick up your Indonesian business partners at the airport and accompany them personally to their hotel which should correspond to a normal international business-standard. Although hierarchies play an important role in Indonesia, you can book the same room category for all guests of the probably very heterogeneous delegation.
As far as sightseeing is concerned, just ask your guests in advance what they would like to see and experience. Allow your business partners a little free time, however. It is very important to Indonesians that they have ample opportunity to buy souvenirs.
Your business partners may also have a little something in their luggage for you. Typical souvenirs from Indonesia are batik shirts and Indonesian sweets. If you are given a gift, say thank you and put it aside to open later on. Under no circumstances should you unpack the gift in the presence of your business partners; this would only embarrass them.
If you also want to give your guests something typical from your country to take home, please do not give them knives, flowers, watches or alcohol. Knives stand for an attack in Indonesia, flowers are completely pointless from an Indonesian point of view, watches allude to the Indonesian tendency to be unpunctual and the mostly Muslim population is not allowed to drink alcohol.
Some examples of good gifts for Indonesians are football jerseys or high-quality writing utensils. Women are happy to receive perfume or chocolates; however, please do not give the kind with an alcoholic filling. When choosing gifts, you must keep in mind the different hierarchy levels so that you also give a higher ranking person a higher-quality gift.
You are not expected to invite your visitors to your home unless you and your Indonesian guests already know each other very well. However, if you do serve Indonesian food at home, make sure you do not break any Islamic dietary rules. Do not serve roast pork or alcohol with food. Indonesia has the highest proportion of Muslims in the world. Nevertheless, there are also many Hindus, Buddhists and Christians in Indonesia. If you simply pay a little attention to the religious background of your guests, you won’t put a foot wrong.