Jakarta - Indonesia is among the top 20 countries with highest tourism growth, after it recorded a growth increase of 24 percent in the first 10 months of this year.
The 24 percent growth far exceeded last years increase, when the country recorded a growth of 15.54 percent foreign tourist arrivals from 10.41 million in 2015 to 12.02 million in 2016.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, on Thursday, the number of tourist arrivals in the country in the year ending Oct 31, 2017, reached 11,617,828, up 24 percent from 9,403,614 in the same period last year.
However, the government is unlikely to achieve its foreign tourist arrival target, which has been set at 15 million this year, or an increase by three million tourists (25 percent) from the previous year target of 12 million.
The possibility of not achieving its 15 million foreign tourist arrival target is largely due to the eruption of Mount Gunung Agung in Bali late last month, which forced tourists to cancel their visits. The tourist resort province of Bali has so far contributed to more than 40 percent of the countrys foreign tourist arrivals.
Bali, last year, contributed some 4.92 million foreign tourists to the countrys total foreign tourists arrivals of 12.02 million. Therefore, Mount Gunung Agung eruption had a significant impact on the reduction in the number of visitors.
"Possibly, we can also reach 14 million. Up to September, the arrivals of foreign tourists were still okay. It was encouraging, but due to the eruption, we cannot do anything," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya was quoted as saying by Kompas.com on the sidelines of his visit to Sabang City, Aceh, on Nov 30.
According to the minister, the eruption of Gunung Agung is one of the causes of the failure to achieve the target. "Before the eruption, we were confident of achieving the 15 million target," Yahya added. He predicted that the closure of Balis Ngurah Rai Airport for one day, for example, affected the entry of about 15 thousand foreign tourist to Bali.
Therefore, the minister urged all players in the industry in Bali to provide support or facilities needed by tourists in the island in connection with the eruption of Mount Agung. The minister noted that visitors would certainly be impressed if Bali could provide good services during the time of disaster.
The impact would be good for the future. Travelers would be impressed by the services, and Bali would have a good reputation among tourists across the world.
Even though Mount Agung has disturbed foreign tourist arrivals, the minister is still optimistic that the country will still be able to record 14 million visitors, or two million higher than the arrivals in 2016.
After all, the arrivals in the country in the first 10 months this year still grew by 24 percent.
"The figure puts Indonesia among the top 20 countries with the highest tourism growth," the minister noted.
Meanwhile, tourist arrivals in Malaysia grew 0.87 percent in the January-May 2017 period, while that of Singapore and Thailand grew by 3.83 percent in the January-July 2017 period and 6.69 percent in the January-October 2017 period, respectively.
In the Southeast Asian region, Indonesia was second only to Vietnam, which recorded 25.2 percent between January and November 2017. "Indonesias tourism growth of 24 percent is well above the ASEAN tourism growth of 7 percent and the world tourism growth of 6.4 percent. It (the 24 percent tourism growth) has shored up our confidence to achieve the target of tourist arrivals at 17 million for 2018," he remarked.
He expressed hope that the tourism industry in Bali will soon recover following the eruption of Mount Agung. The Bali tourism industry contributes nearly 40 percent of tourist arrivals in the country.
In the meantime, the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia is predicted to increase in 2018 with improving economy of big tourist markets of China, India, Japan and South Korea.
"The economic condition of a country would determine the number of people holidaying abroad," Deputy for Development and Marketing of Foreign Tourism at the Tourism Ministry I Gde Pitana said speaking at a meeting on "Sales and Marketing Summit 2017" in Bali on Friday (Nov 24).
Pitana said his office would optimize tourism promotion both through conventional marketing and through using information technology and networks promotion. The tourism ministry hopes to chalk up 17 million visits of foreign tourists in the country in 2018 and 20 million in 2019, he said.
The elections which are to be held simultaneously for regional leaders in 2018 would have no significant effect on the number of foreign visitors to the country. "We are not worried by the regional elections. The election would not discouraged visitors to Indonesia," he added.
On the contrary the election would contribute to economic growth in the regions with many hotels recording higher occupancy rate and small enterprises enjoying larger turnover.
Pitana acknowledged there was a decline in the visits of foreign tourists to Bali, the countrys largest tourist destination, because of the threat of angry volcano Mount Agung, which frequently spews volcanic matters sending black smokes to the sky lately.
In September 2017, the number of visits by foreign tourist to Bali grew 25 percent year-on-year , but in October the growth rate dropped to only 6 percent. "The number continued to grow but slower as many foreign tourists decided to cancel visit to the island on fear of the report of volcanic explosions, although in general the condition in Bali is still normal," he said.
However, promotional activities should continue to convince tourists that it is safe in Bali, he added.
Source: Antara News