The number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia in the first quarter of 2012 grew by 11.01 percent to 1,903,796, up from 1,714,946 tourists in the same period last year, according to data released by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) on Tuesday.
Year-on-year, the figure rose 10.12 percent from 598,068 in March last year to 658,602 in March 2012, it said.
Meanwhile, compared to February, March’s figure saw a 11.16 percent increase from 592,502 tourists.
Looking at the data, Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry spokesman I Gusti Ngurah Putra said that the government was optimistic about reaching its target of attracting 8 million tourists throughout this year.
“January to March is considered low season in the tourism industry, yet we were able to record double-digit foreign tourist growth. This is a positive sign that we can meet our target by the end of 2012,” Ngurah told The Jakarta Post over the telephone.
He said that the figure encouraged the government to seriously manage the tourism and creative industry sector even more to help increase the welfare of Indonesian people.
“The Indonesian Tourism Board [BPPI] also helps us in promoting Indonesia to the world. We believe that we are on the right track to boost this particular sector,” he added.
In addition, the main gateway for tourist arrivals, Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, recorded a 11.35 percent quarter-on-quarter increase from 612,333 to 681,838 this year.
In terms of year-on-year growth, the Bali airport saw a 10.08 percent increase from 202,500 to 223,000 tourists in March.
The highest quarter-on-quarter increase in arrivals was recorded at Husein Sastranegara Airport in Bandung, West Java, climbing to 33,368 people, up 22.74 percent from 27,187 in the same period last year.
On an annual basis, Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi, saw a 36 percent jump from 939 people in March last year to 1,227 this year. This airport recorded the highest year-on-year increase among 19 other primary tourist arrival points surveyed by the BPS.
In addition, BPS data showed that starred-hotel room occupancy rate in 20 provinces rose to 52.70 percent on average in March 2012, up by 0.75 points compared to rates in March last year.
Compared to February 2012, occupancy rates increased slightly by 1.92 points.
Throughout March 2012, Central Sulawesi recorded the highest occupancy rate at 79.63 percent, followed by South Kalimantan and Bali at 61.43 percent and 59.39 percent, respectively.
According to the data, four-starred hotels recorded the highest occupancy rate in March this year at 55.72 percent, followed by five-starred and three-starred hotels, at 54.16 percent and 53.25 percent, respectively.
Moreover, foreign tourists spent shorter amounts of time in the country in March compared to the same period last year.
On average, they stayed for 2.01 days in Indonesia during March 2012, while last year they spent 2.11 days in the country. (Jakarta Post)