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Good news for Indonesian tourism, despite global crisis

Publication Date : 09-07-2012


Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu is upbeat on her targets for this year, despite the continuing economic slowdown in developed countries.

Citing reports on the January-to-May period from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Pangestu said that the percent increase in tourist arrivals from the United States was in the double digits, while those from Europe remained "surprisingly healthy".

Pangestu said that total number of foreign tourist arrivals was up almost 9 per cent in the same period, about double the global figure recorded by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (Unwto).

"We discussed the impact of the European crisis at the Unwto and G20 Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Mexico earlier this year and concluded that tourism is a crisis-resilient sector," Pangestu told The Jakarta Post in an interview recently.

Although the global tourism sector contracted by 3.8 per cent in 2009, Indonesia recorded 0.8 percent growth in the same period, she said.

"We keep improving the tourism and creative economy sector in Indonesia by collaborating with relevant ministries and stakeholders to help build more infrastructures. Our target is not only to increase the number of tourists but also to make them stay longer," she said.

Indonesia is aiming to attract 8 million tourists in 2012, up from 7.65 million in 2011. According to the BPS, foreign tourist arrivals reached 3,180,779 from January to May, up 8.81 per cent from the same period last year.

Pangestu attributed the bulk of the rise to the increased number of Chinese tourists, whose numbers were up 39 percent from the same period last year, followed by the Indian tourists, whose numbers were up 11.4 per cent, and US, up 11.3 per cent.

The number of tourists arriving in Indonesia from nations in the eurozone was also up, with the number of German tourists increasing 8.9 per cent and the number of French tourists up 3.4 per cent, according to Pangestu.

"We do not know what is going to happen in Europe in near future, but the global economy has been predicted to be better in 2013. We are optimistic that the tourism sector will grow more next year," she added.

Prospects for the local tourism sector look strong for 2013, when the nation will host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, the Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Cultural Forum and the Miss World beauty contest.

Each of the functions will involve hundreds of delegates from across the globe.

Pangestu said that the ministry would host an "Indonesian Night" at the function to tout the nation and its food to visitors.

Contacted separately, the chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (Asita), Asnawi Bahar, said that Indonesia should conduct more aggressive promotions in new markets with a large tourism potential during the eurozone crisis.

"We should be able to attract more tourists from Asian and Middle Eastern countries such as China, Thailand, Philippines, Korea and Saudi Arabia to stop the decline from European tourists," Bahar told the Post.

He added that the government should spend more on tourism, as the sector was proven in times of crisis.

"The government should not think twice about spending more on tourism. The multiplier effects in this sector will help boost the country’s economy in the long run," he said.


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