Like in many other developing countries, tourism in Indonesia has proven able to contribute to economic growth as well as to the reduction of poverty and unemployment.
Because of that, Indonesia has set ambitious targets for tourism growth this year, as the country looks to realize its potential as a leading international destination for visitors and expand an important part of the economy.
According to Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Lasksono, development in the tourism sector in Indonesia resulted in a 7.8 percent reduction in the unemployment rate this year.
The minister made the statement in a function to open "Kemilau Sulawesi Art and Cultural Festival" in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, on Sunday.
The festival was conducted in West Sulawesi to promote the tourism potential of six provinces on the island of Sulawesi.
It was attended by thousands of people and tourism business players from five provinces, namely North Sulawesi, Gorontalo, Central Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, and Southeast Sulawesi.
On the occasion, Agung Laksono said the tourism sector in Indonesia has a very significant role in economic development and people`s welfare because it has been able to reduce unemployment rate by 7.8 percent this year.
He said that besides reducing the unemployment rate, the tourism sector was also able to promote the country`s economy by increasing the gross domestic product by about 7.6 percent.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said tourism sector played an important role not only in the preservation of cultural values but also in improving people`s welfare by providing job opportunities to millions of people.
In his address to open Bali Art Festival 2011 in Denpasar on June 10, the head of state said tourism was a pre-eminent sector in developing countries and a key to environmentally-friendly economic stimulus.