National carrier PT Garuda Indonesia’s new route connecting Denpasar in Bali and Haneda in Japan is expected to boost Japanese tourist arrivals, which have been in decline over the past two years.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said on Sunday that she was optimistic that the Haneda – Denpasar route launched on Saturday would make up for the declining figures.
“Garuda will fly the new route five times a week. I am sure it will boost the number of Japanese tourists coming to Indonesia – the first flight was full,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the Betawi exhibition at Bentara Budaya Jakarta.
Mari added that she was optimistic that growth in this month’s foreign tourist arrivals would stand in “double digit” figures.
The National Statistics Agency (BPS) will officially announce the figures next month.
Foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia reached 1.24 million during the first two months of this year, surging 11.49% over the 1.12 million recorded during the corresponding period last year.
In total, 7.65 million foreign tourists came to Indonesia throughout 2011, up by 9.24 percent from 2010.
Japanese tourist arrivals to Bali, however, declined by 26.5 percent to 168,590 during the period of January-November 2011, down from 229,295 visitors recorded over the same period in 2010.
Economic woes in Japan and the March 2011 tsunami were cited as factors contributing to the decline.
The latest data from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry showed that Malaysians, Singaporeans, Australians, Chinese and Japanese were the most common foreign tourists visiting Indonesia.
The ministry is aiming to increase the number of foreign tourists to 8 million this year, up from 7.65 million in 2011.(Jakarta Post)