JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia attracted 10.87 million foreign tourists in January-August period, still far behind the government’ target to bring 20 million foreign tourists to the archipelago until the end of this year. Data from the Statistics Indonesia showed in the first eight-month of this year foreign tourist visits increased slightly by 2.67 percent.

By means of transportation, air travelers dominated the figure, with 6.49 million visits recorded to have come from airports. Sea transportation follows with 2.80 million visits recorded and then land transportation (1.57 million).

In August alone, the world’ fourth most populous nation drew 1.56 million tourists, up 4.83 percent from the corresponding period last year. Bali still dominated the destination, followed by Jakarta and Batam. In August alone, Malaysian tourists led the figure, followed by Chinese, Singapore, Australia and Timor Leste.

The agency also noted, there was a decreasing numbers of tourist arrivals in seven airports in Indonesia, due to the impacts of forest fires and hazes. The affected airports are South Sumatra’ Sultan Badaruddin airport, Center of Java’ Ahmad Yani airport, as well as Aceh’ Sultan Iskandar Muda airport.

The data also showed the occupancy rate of starred-hotel in August hits an average of 54.14 percent. This figure is lower compared to last month’ at 56.73 percent. The average length of stay of foreign tourists in starred hotels also declined.

The government is targeting Indonesia as a leading Asian and World tourism destination by 2045 with a total of 73.6 million foreign tourist visits, from the 18 million people set for 2019, said National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro today (08/19).

“Indonesia’ diversity which includes more than 17 islands, 300 ethnic groups, 700 languages, world heritage sites, as well as the third-largest biodiversity is a great potential for tourism development,” Brodjonegoro said at the Integrated Tourism Masterplan Meeting in Jakarta recently.

He continued in 2020 the government will focus on developing leading destinations with a target of 21.6 million foreign tourists, in 2025 increasing competitiveness with a target of 31.8 million people, in 2030 increasing diversity of tourism with a target of 42.8 million people, in 2035 increasing the integration of tourism with a target of 57.5 people.

Furthermore, in 2040 the strengthening as Asia’ flagship destination with a target of 65.1 million people, and finally in 2045 the strengthening as the world’ flagship destination with a total of 73.6 million people visiting.

Besides the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, he went on, the tourism sector also directly contributed to foreign exchange reserves so as to strengthen the economy externally. Then tourism must become a government’s concern so that it can become the backbone of the Indonesian economy in 2045.

Tourism can also contribute to inclusive growth and more balanced national development by bringing investment to remote areas with tourist attractions. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya is optimistic that by the end of 2019 the number of tourist visits could reach the target of 18 million, higher than the Bank Indonesia projection which mentions 17.6 million visits.

The minister said that the tourism sector is one of the main foreign exchange-earners. In 2018, Indonesia’s foreign exchange income from the tourism sector reached US$17 billion, rose $2 billion from $15 billion a year earlier. And in 2019, the government targets the tourism sector to contribute $20 billion in foreign exchange.

So the government continues to accelerate the development of four priority tourist destinations to reach the revenue target. President Joko Widodo had previously established 4 super-priority tourism destinations, namely Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Lombok-Mandalika area in West Nusa Tenggara, and Komodo Island – Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara.

Written by Yosi Winosa, Email: