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Foreign Tourist Numbers Exceed 1 Million in October
Indonesia welcomed over 1 million foreign tourists in October, hitting the figure for the fourth month this year, sparking optimism about the fulfillment of the country’s annual target despite mounting calls to diversify tourist nationalities.
Indonesia welcomed over 1 million foreign tourists in October, hitting the figure for the fourth month this year, sparking optimism about the fulfillment of the country’s annual target despite mounting calls to diversify tourist nationalities.

The world’s biggest archipelago attracted 1.04 million tourists in October, up 18.5 percent from last year, although the figure rose only slightly by 3.38 percent from September, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) released on Thursday.

Cumulatively from January to October, Indonesia welcomed 9.4 million tourists, inching toward the official 12 million target for this year.

Continuing the trend seen in previous months, arrivals were dominated by Chinese tourists, with 121,880 visitors from the country in October. At 12.43 percent of the overall figure, China replaced traditional top countries of origin such as Malaysia and Australia.

The Tourism Ministry’s assistant for overseas promotion I Gde Pitana attributed the high monthly tourist arrivals to aggressive promotions abroad, while also acknowledging the role of the private sector in attracting Chinese tourists.

“We see that the free-visa policy has really made an impact. Second, as the market is so big, our partners, such as travel agents, tour operators and airlines, are all very excited to do their [promotional] activities in China because they know it will sell,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone.

Several airlines, including the country’s largest low-cost carrier Lion Air and national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, have opened direct flights from Chinese cities to destinations like Jakarta and Denpasar.

The government recently carried out promotional efforts at the Chinese International Travel Mart (CITM) in Shanghai and earlier this month at the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London.

However, concerns linger among businesspeople, especially on the need to diversify tourist nationalities.

Responding to the monthly tourist data, Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) chairman Asnawi Bahar expressed his optimism that the full-year foreign tourist target could be achieved, particularly boosted by upcoming events such as Chinese New Year celebrations in Bali.

Nevertheless, he noted that despite the prospects in China, it was important for Indonesia to diversify its tourist market.

“Even though China has big prospects, I hope in the future we can also focus on other countries, such as those in Europe and the Middle East,” he said, adding that Southeast Asian countries, which were traditional contributors to foreign tourists, were also a priority amid stagnant growth in visitor numbers.

The current administration aims to boost the number of foreign tourists to 20 million by 2019, lower than neighboring countries Malaysia and Thailand, which see more than 25 million each year. The move is considered to have a multiplier effect on local industries.
  Source: Jakarta Post

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