Indonesia has seen a strong start to 2008 tourist arrival figures. The number of tourists visiting the archipelago during the first quarter increased by 15.68% year on year (y-o-y), to 1,405,456. This increase is very much in line with BMI’s own expectations of a 15% annual rise, so we see no reason to modify our forecasts this quarter. Bali continues to be the engine driving the wider Indonesian tourism industry, with the island welcoming some 197,700 tourists in February alone, an increase of almost 30%.
Visit Indonesia 2008 Campaign Launched
In late December 2007, the government officially launched Visit Indonesia 2008. The aims of this US$15mn domestic and international marketing campaign are to attract some 7mn foreign tourists to Indonesia and generate some US$6.4bn in foreign tourism receipts. There will also be over 100 international events and cultural festivals held around the archipelago to raise Indonesia’s international profile. The campaign marks the first time since 1991 that the government has held an international Visit Indonesia marketing campaign. The last campaign was not particularly successful, but this was carried out during a time of global economic slowdown. This year’s launch also got off to an inauspicious start when it was revealed that the tourism ministry’s English slogan ‘Celebrating 100 years of nation’s awakening’ was incorrect and had to be changed to ‘100 years of national awakening’. This gaffe forced Garuda Indonesia to repaint 10 planes that had already been tagged with the slogan. Although we welcome the launch of this tourism marketing campaign as a way of bringing tourists back to the country, BMI does not believe that the 7mn target can be reached, as this would represent a massive 27% increase y-o-y. We believe that our long-held target of 6.35mn visitors for 2008 can be reached, provided of course the security situation does not deteriorate. This would still represent strong annual growth of over 15%.
Indonesia Losing Tourism Competitiveness
The World Economic Forum recently released its second annual World Tourism Competitiveness Index. Indonesia has fallen 20 places from last year, to now be ranked at 80 out of 130 countries surveyed. The 2008 report placed particular emphasis on the issue of ‘balancing economic development and environmental stability’. The WEF’s analysis tallies very much with BMI’s own views on the country. In the WEF’s analysis, Indonesia scores highly in areas such as price competitiveness and national prioritisation of travel and tourism. However, weaknesses included underdeveloped tourism infrastructure and other issues related to tourist safety and security.