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Govt goes all out to double foreign tourist arrivals

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The government, under President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), is resolved to advance the country`s tourism sector by setting a target to increase foreign tourist arrivals by about 100 percent in five years in 2019.

The administration of Jokowi, who assumed the presidency in Oct 2014, has set the target of annual foreign tourist arrivals at 20 million in 2019 from 9.4 million in 2014.

Starting its tourism program in 2015, Jokowi`s government set a tourist arrival target of 10 million in 2015 and succeeded to exceed the target, with 10.4 million tourists visiting the country that year.

In the following year, it was also successful in exceeding the 12 million target by recording arrivals of 12.02 million tourists based on data of the Tourism Ministry. Yet, the Central Bureau of Statistics noted that the number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2016 was only 11.52 million.

However, last year, the government failed to meet its 15 million visit target as it only booked 14.04 million foreign tourist arrivals.

Now, it has to work hard and make all-out efforts to meet its target of 17 million tourists this year and 20 million next year.

Among the strategy that the government is applying this year includes changing its tourism marketing pattern by applying a market zoning system.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya previously stated that the country`s tourism marketing is divided into groups, which handled foreign and domestic tourists. Now, the tourism marketing is divided under a regional division based on the main market shares of the countries of origin of the tourists.

Basically, the marketing divisions have two main zones, namely Zone I, which covers Indonesia, Asean, Australia, and Oceania; and Zone II, which consists of Asia, America, and Europe.

“The new marketing strategy is divided by regions. For example, the deputy for marketing development of Zone I will handle Indonesia and neighboring countries (Asean), Australia, and Oceania. The others focus on other major foreign tourist markets, namely Europe, China, and India,” Yahya was quoted as saying by Kalimantan.binis.co early this month (Feb 2).

Several markets, such as Europe, India, and China, have recorded high growth, and the Tourism Ministry should give major attention to them in preparing a marketing strategy. Through organizational restructuring, the minister expects that his ministry will become more focused on tourists. It must be more sensitive in understanding the needs of tourists and be more adaptive to the conditions in developing tourism products to meet the needs of tourists.

This year, the Ministry of Tourism is targeting nine main markets, namely China, Europe (UK, Germany France, Netherlands, and Russia), Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, India, Japan, Korea, and the Middle East.

Yahya explained that these countries are made the target based on their sizes, sustainability (growth), and spending (consumption) over the past year.

The increase in Chinese tourists to Indonesia is recorded at 30 percent, Australia at about 11 percent, India (quite high) at 45 percent, and Europe at 15.2 percent in the January-September 2017 period.

Minister Yahya said that tourism is an industry that can easily be developed but has a big potential to improve the welfare of the people. “Tourism is the most inexpensive and easy industry to improve the welfare of the people,” Yahya stated, in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 16th Glamorous Cultural Charm Festival of Garut District, West Java, on Wednesday (Feb 22).

For that, Yahya asked related parties to focus on improving the tourism sector for the welfare of the local community. Regions focusing on tourism, such as Bali, have higher per capita income than areas that do not focus on tourism development.

“In addition to high per capita income, the index of happiness is also high,” he remarked. For Indonesia, tourism has become the second largest foreign exchange earner, which beats oil, gas, and coal. The first position is occupied by palm oil commodity.

Thus, tourism can become the largest foreign exchange earner for the country in future. After all, the Indonesian government is increasingly active in improving and developing tourism in all potential regions in Indonesia.

Yahya appreciated the implementation of the 16th Glamorous Cultural Charm Festival of Garut, which carries the theme “Gawe Rancage Mawa Karaharjaan” (Work Towards Prosperity).

“This theme is very appropriate, with the aim of developing tourism to improve the welfare of the community,” he explained.

The Ministry of Tourism targeted the arrival of 17 million foreign tourists and 270 million domestic visitors in 2018.

In the meantime, the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) noted that the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia in 2017 had reached 14.04 million, up 21.88 percent compared with 11.52 million in 2016.

Head of BPS Suhariyanto noted at a press conference in Jakarta recently that of the 14.04 million foreign tourists, 11.79 million had entered through 19 main entry gates, and 2.25 million visited the country through the entry gates other than the 19 main entrances.

Based on BPS` records, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2014 had reached 9.43 million and rose to 10.23 million visits in 2015, while in 2016, the country had received 14.04 million visitors.

Meanwhile, the room occupancy rate of star-rated hotels in Indonesia in December 2017 had reached an average of 59.53 points, or an increase of 3.03 percent, compared with 56.50 percent in December 2016.

Similarly, as compared to the occupancy rate of star-rated hotels in December 2017, the figure increased by 1.65 points than November 2017.

The average length of stay of foreign and Indonesian guests in star-rated hotels in December 2017 was recorded at 1.72 days, an increase of 0.02 points compared to December 2016.

(T.A014/A/KR-BSR/A014)

Editor:A�Heru Purwanto

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