By Novani Nugrahani The Jakarta Post Thu November 19 2015
Cleaning the ocean: Miss Tourism Indonesia 2014 Syarifah Fajri Maulidiyah collects litter from the water at Olele sea park in Bonebolango district, Gorontalo, on Nov. 11. Syarifah was in Gorontalo to promote the province’s maritime tourism and to attend the 2015 Miss Tourism Gorontalo competition. (Antara/Adiwinata Solihin)
The government is hopeful of attaining 20 million foreign tourists annually by 2019 amid concerted efforts to make the archipelago a world-class tourism destination.
Ahman Sya, deputy of tourism development at the Tourism Ministry, said on Thursday that a collaborative effort was needed between the government and all stakeholders to reach the target.
The ministry’s target for foreign tourist arrivals this year is 10 million.
“We aim to reach 12 million foreign tourists coming to the country next year, and will gradually increase that number to 20 million foreign tourists by 2019,” Ahman said during a workshop held by the ministry called Gong 21: Wonderful Indonesia Goes World Class.
Wonderful Indonesia is the government’s slogan to promote the archipelago.
The workshop’s participants included government officials, academics, businesspeople, people working in tourism and students.
Ahman said the government was focusing on improvements such as increased destination readiness, accessibility and connectivity. Promotions are expected to play a pivotal role to boost foreign tourist arrival numbers in the future.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has set a target of reaching 20 million foreign tourists and 275 million domestic tourists by 2019, when Jokowi’s tenure ends.
The target is expected to contribute 8 percent to national gross domestic product, accounting for Rp 240 trillion and 13 million people working in the sector by 2019. The government is eyeing 30th position among 141 tourist countries.
Data from the ministry showed that more than 7.8 million foreign tourists had come to Indonesia as of September this year.
“We expected around 1 million foreign tourists in November and 1.2 million in December to be able to achieve the 10 million target,” Ahmad said.
The government recently implemented visa-free entry for tourists from 30 countries in a drive to bolster tourism.
Indonesia is still lagging behind neighboring countries like Thailand and Malaysia despite the abundance of travel destinations the archipelago offers. The two countries had recorded an estimated annual 29 million and 26 million foreign tourists, respectively, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said in June. (rin)