Indonesia reaped more than $10 billion in foreign exchange earnings from overseas tourists last year as visitor numbers exceeded government targets to an all-time high, underscoring tourism as a growing contributor to the nation’s economy.
Total foreign exchange earnings is estimated to have risen 11 percent
to $10.1 billion in 2013, from $9.1 billion a year earlier, the Central
Statistics Agency (BPS) announced on Monday.
In the 12-month period, 8.8 million overseas visitors came to
Indonesia, a record high and exceeding the government’s own target of
8.6 million. That was up 9.5 percent from 8.04 million foreign travelers
Singapore accounted for 1.4 million tourist arrivals. Malaysia had
some 1.2 million people, while 928,279 came from Australia, 747,921 from
China and 479,305 from Japan.
Indonesia was home last year to a number of high-profile
international events, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
summit in October and the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting
in December — both of which were in Bali.
Bali remains one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the
country, successfully hosting the Miss World beauty pageant final in
September, despite protests from Muslim hard-liners.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said last
month that such events could boost visitor numbers to Indonesia as well
as promote the country’s tourist destinations.
Still, Indonesia trails many of its neighbors when it comes to attracting foreign visitors.
Malaysia, for example, had 25 million arrivals in 2012 alone, reaping
$61 billion from their spending. Thailand reported 22 million visitors
Earnings from foreign visitors might help the country narrow its
current account deficit. The country has posted a gap for 11 straight
quarters due to weak exports and strong oil fuel imports, which has been
meeting demand from a rising number of vehicles in the country.
Indonesia posted a current account deficit of $8.4 billion, or 3.8
percent of its gross domestic product in the third quarter last year. (JakartaGlobe)