The number of international visitors to Indonesia during Semester I of 2012 has shown a positive growth of 7.75 percent, which is higher than the global growth of 5 percent, and close to the average tourism growth in the Asia Pacific of 8 percent, said Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, at a press conference on Wednesday, August 1. The Minister outlined achievements made in the tourism sector from January through June 2012.
This brings to a total 3.87 million tourists to the country in the past 6 months, with main source markets being Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China, and Japan. The increase in Japanese tourists is due to, among others, Japan’s economic recovery and the resumption of Haneda-Denpasar direct flights by Garuda Indonesia airlines.
Furthermore, although there continues a financial crisis in Europe and the United States, happily, both markets continue to show positive growth. Tourists from Great Britain registered a growth of 4.5 percent, with a 6.7 percent increase in German tourists, while the number of Americans to Indonesia was up with 9.9 percent, which means that despite the crisis, tourists from these countries continue to travel.
With these figures, Minister Mari Pangestu is confident that this year’s international visitors’ target of 8 million arrivals will be met. “We will focus not only on numbers but also on quality, extending visitors’ length of stay, and increasing expenditures.” For this purpose, we will push special interest destinations especially in trekking and adventure, snorkeling, diving, and golf.
Burgeoning Middle Class boosts Domestic Tourism
Besides promoting international tourism, the Ministry will also push domestic tourism considering Indonesia’s large population. With a burgeoning middle class, improved infrastructure and a large number of low-cost air carriers now providing cheaper flights to more cities and destinations, domestic tourism is expected to grow by leaps and bounds.
“Along with increasing income, the growing number of middle class society, the improving infrastructure, and the growing number of budget airlines, domestic travel will become the mainstay of national tourism,” said the Minister.
The largest source of domestic tourists are still from the densely-populated island of Java, and they are East Java, Banten, Central Java, Jakarta, and West Java, while most popular destinations for domestic tourists are: Bali, Lombok, Wakatobi, Yogyakarta, North Sumatra, Jakarta, West Java, and South Sulawesi.
In 2011, domestic tourists made 236.753 million trips, which exceeded the target of 236 million trips. Their total expenditure was estimated at Rp. 156.89 trillion, based on average expenditure per trip of Rp. 662,680 per person.
In 2012, the Ministry for Tourism and Creative Economy targets 245 million trips in domestic tourism, with total expenditure of Rp. 171.5 trillion (US$18 billion) .
The actual expenditure of domestic tourists is twice the estimated foreign exchange earnings from international tourists at US$9 billion.
Domestic tourists’ spending predominantly made on transportation, accommodation, food, beverages, and shopping, will boost regional economies.
During the upcoming Ied or Lebaran holidays in August, when hordes of people disperse to their hometowns and spend leisure time at nearby tourist attractions with family and friends, they will spend their money mostly on meals and shopping.
This, and the end of the year holidays, will ensure that this year’s target should be reached, said Minister Mari Pangestu.