The various natural disasters that have happened killing hundreds of people -- such as the flash floods in West Papua`s Wasior, Mount Merapi eruptions in Central Java and the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in West Sumatra`s Mentawai Islands-- had raised concern that Indonesia would not be able to reach its target of attracting seven million foreign tourists in 2010.
Yet, as the year is approaching its end, tourism officials are still upbeat that despite the ordeals the country experienced this year, the target of seven million foreign tourist arrivals can be achieved if arrivals in November and December remain stable.
"Indonesia has had to face heavy odds in its tourism sector this year due to the occurrence of a number of natural disasters. But we are still optimistic that the target of 7 million will be achieved," Marketing Director General of the Culture and Tourism Ministry Pasta Nirwandar said.
The optimism is based on the figure of foreign tourist arrivals in the January - October 2010 period which had reached 5.7 million. After all, arrivals in November and December have yet to be calculated, while December is usually a time when tourist arrivals peak.
He said that until Thursday, his ministry had not yet obtained data on the exact number of foreign tourist arrivals for the whole year because recapitulation on the arrivals of foreign tourists had not yet been completed, particularly those arriving in the last two months.
Interim data showed that in the January - October 2010 period, a total of 5,780,571 foreign tourists had visited Indonesia and about 233,4 million domestic tourists were recorded to have conducted touristic trips.
Sapta expressed hope that in the year end, the figure would increase and reach seven million, or even exceed it, based on the country`s target this year.
"We hope that the number of foreign tourists arriving in November and December would be stable, or at least equal to that of last year or even exceeded it," he said.
Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik will soon announce the results of Visit Indonesia Year 2010 program, particularly its target to net seven million foreign tourists.
"At the end of December, there will be a Visit Indonesia Year 2010 appreciation night. During the occasion, Minister Jero Wacik will announce the result of the visit Indonesia year program," Sapta Nirwandar said on Thursday.
He said that during the appreciation night which was scheduled to be held at Sahid Jaya Hotel on December 28, 2010, the minister was scheduled to announce the theme of Indonesia Visit Year 2011, including its foreign tourist arrival target for 2011.
At present, officials at the ministry are still discussing the possible target Indonesia would set for 2011."We are still discussing the possibility of setting a target at between 7.3 million and 7.6 million next year," Noviendi Makalam, secretary to the director general for marketing affairs at the Tourism and Culture Ministry said earlier.