Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tourist arrivals may exceed target of 7.7 million

Foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia may reach 7.8 million this year, slightly exceeding the government’s target of 7.7 million, a tourism industry group estimated.

Rudiana, vice chairman of the Jakarta branch of the Association of the Indonesia Tour and Travel Agencies (Asita), said in Jakarta on Monday that beside holding international events, improvement of the country’s security conditions had also contributed to the higher than expected number of tourist arrivals.

“Unfavorable security conditions in other countries will also push up the number of inbound tourists, as they may shift their destinations to Indonesia,” he told The Jakarta Post.

Rudiana said that visits are expected to peak in June, July, August and December because of school holidays and the change of seasons in many foreign countries.

“Foreign tourist arrivals may top four to five million in total during those months,” he said.

He added that a number of events, including the SEA Games and those related to the Indonesian ASEAN chairmanship would also boost arrivals of inbound tourists to the country.

The SEA Games are scheduled to run from Nov. 11 to 22 in Jakarta and Palembang. Other official meetings in relation to Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship will also take place from this month through the end of 2011.

The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) recently announced that from January to April this year, the number of tourist arrivals increased by 7.20 percent to 2.32 million from 2.17 million over the same period last year.

According to Rudiana, the 7.20 percent growth was quite good given the declining number of tourists from Japan — one of the most important countries of origin of Indonesia’s inbound tourists.

“Many Japanese tourists canceled their travel following the disaster. Agencies in Bali, for example, reported a 50-percent decline in numbers of free individual travelers [a group consisting two to four travelers],” he said.

Rudiana added that during the first months of each year, visits of foreign tourists usually slowed and would climb later in the middle of the year.

BPS data shows that in April inbound tourists totaled 608,100, a 9.39 percent rise from 555,900 in April last year. Earlier this year, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said that the government aimed to draw around 7.7 million inbound tourists in 2011, a 10-percent increase from 7 million last year.

Last year, inbound tourists brought a total of US$7.6 billion with average spending of $1,085 per person during an average stay of eight days per visitor. The rising number of travelers in Indonesia has attracted a number of tourism stakeholders, such as hotel management chains, to boost their investments in the country in the coming years.

For example, global hotel management chain Accor recently unveiled plans through 2014 to operate 21 new hotels in Indonesia; its fastest growing market in Asia after China and India.

The hotel, managed under brands such as Pullman, Novotel, Ibis, All Seasons and Formule 1, will be located in Greater Jakarta and other major cities, including Pekanbaru, Bandung, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Denpasar, Banjarmasin, Palu and Makassar.

It had also previously announced that it would open another 13 hotels by 2013, most of which are currently under construction.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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