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INDONESIA CELEBRATES ITS BEST YEAR FOR TOURISM ARRIVALS

The Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Jero Wacik, is delighted to report that Indonesia “experienced its best year ever for overseas tourism arrivals with 6.4 million visitors in 2008”.

This represents double-digit growth of 15% over the 5.5 million arrivals in 2007. Arrivals from Singapore reached 855,761, a growth of 1.8%.

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Bali – Indonesia’s best-known leisure destination – achieved the highest number of arrivals. With a sharp increase of 32% in 2007, Bali hit a record-breaking number of 1,801,000 tourists who arrived by international flights to Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, Bali.

Table 1 : Selected Key Countries Tourism Arrivals 2008 vs 2007 (Period : January – November)

Country
2007 Tourism
2008 Tourism
Percentage
Australia
238,434
353,833
48.40%
China
179,333
256,130
42.82%
Germany
95,433
116,832
22.42%
India
82,623
100,852
22.06%
Japan
438,361
464,404
5.94%
Malaysia
522,488
609,301
16.62%
Middle East
33,565
42,153
25.59%
Singapore
841,010
855,761
1.75%
South Korea
256,965
256,765
-0.08%

Dr. Sapta Nirwanda, the Deputy Minister of Marketing of the Ministry Of Culture and Tourism, in his year end report notes that the average spending per capita of visitors also increased significantly.

In 2007, average spending per capita of visitors was US$970.98 per visit, while in 2008 it raised to US$1,178.54 – an increase of 21.4%. The Ministry report also showed that average stay for tourists from the Asia Pacific region in 2008 is around 4 days. Based on 2007 data, the average stay for the Singapore visitors was 4.3 days of whom 91% were repeat visitors. More than half of Singapore residents visited for leisure reasons. The top cities for Singapore visitors were Jakarta, Batam/Bintan and Bali.

Peak travel period for Singapore visitors was May–June and September–December. * Dr. Nirwandar cited several reasons that make the Indonesian archipelago a trendsetting destination for holidaymakers from around the world: “Indonesia offers an attractive visitor equation of low cost to high quality service; has an exotic mix of fascinating cultures; breathtaking nature; pristine tropical beaches; and outstanding cultural spread over 17,500 islands.

In addition, it offers shopping at great value for money and a large variety of sporting activities ranging from golfing to diving, all in a family-friendly atmosphere.” Thanks to the extra promotional efforts undertaken in Visit Indonesia Year 2008, many tourists accepted the invitation for island hopping and visited Bali’s neighbouring islands. High in demand was Java with its unique volcano landscape and the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as Bali’s “little sister” island, Lombok.

Lombok is a paradise for those looking for rest and relaxation, for divers and snorkelers wishing to explore its sheltered Gili islands, and fascinates with its picturesque beaches and mainly untouched tropical nature.

Lombok can be reached from Bali either by a 20 minute plane ride or in a fast sea ferry in just 1½ hours. Lombok is scheduled for further tourism development. Recently, a contract has been signed with Emaar of Dubai to build a 600-million-US Dollar holiday resort at the south of the island. A new international airport is also being built in Lombok and should be inaugurated in 2010. New flight connections, e.g.

singapore – Yogyakarta direct flights by Garuda Indonesia will provide visitors direct access to the cradle of Javanese culture in under 2 hours; an increase in AirAsia budget flights from Singapore and KL to many secondary destinations in Indonesia; and newly-opened luxury boutique hotels and resorts in Bali and Java are all making tourism officials optimistic about 2009 arrivals despite the downturn in the global economy.

The island of Sumatra in western Indonesia is establishing strong regional air connections with its neighbors in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. There are also nine Garuda Indonesia daily flights making the two hours direct flights from Jakarta to Medan, the capital of North Sumatra – virtually a shuttle service. Medan is also fast becoming a regional hub for budget airlines seeking to offer new attractive destinations to budget-minded leisure visitors. North Sumatra offers stunning Lake Toba (one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes), mountain trekking, adventure holidays and the fascinating Batak culture.

The city is aggressively promoting its reputation as a business destination to increase M.I.C.E. arrivals. Two new 5-star hotels are scheduled to open in 2009 – JW Marriott and Grand Swiss Belhotel.

This will result in a capacity of 1,410 rooms in 5-stars hotels and 1,702 rooms in 4-star hotels in this dynamic city suited for meetings, conferences and exhibitions. “In summary,” notes Dr.Nirwandar, “We are realistically predicting single digit growth in 2009 because of our wide mix of destinations and products, and the attractive relation of cost to service, all putting it on the winner’s side in the South East Asian market”.

 

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