Confident that tourists will see past the recent terrorist attacks in the country, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said it would raise its target for foreign arrivals next year to seven million, or 500,000 more than this year’s goal.
“We are planning to raise the target for foreign tourist arrivals in 2010 to seven million, taking into account security improvements in Indonesia as well as the growth in arrivals this year,” said Sapta Nirwandar, a marketing director at the ministry.
He said the ministry was optimistic the target would be reached as the number of arrivals from January through July this year was up 2.6 percent from the first half of 2008.
Over the first seven months of this year, the number of international arrivals rose to 3.6 million, up from 3.5 million.
“The number of tourists is increasing every year, meaning that people trust Indonesia despite the bombings that occurred a few months ago,” he said.
He added that vacationers from Australia, France, Saudi Arabia, China, Korea, Russia and Japan were always enthusiastic about coming to this country.
“The number of Australian tourists is up 25 percent from the same period last year,” he said, adding that from January to July 267,000 Australian arrivals had been recorded.
He said the ministry was collaborating with stakeholders, businessmen and local tourism agencies to help the leisure industry expand.
“Tourism is the second-largest source of income for the country after the oil and gas sector,” he said. “That is why tourism is so important.”
The ministry is also working with the Ministry of Communication and the Ministry of Forestry in a carefully planned campaign to make Komodo National Park one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
On July 21, the Switzerland-based New7Wonders Foundation announced that the park had made the final cut and would vie with 26 other natural landmarks worldwide to be named one of the Seven New Wonders.