BY A CORRESPONDENT
February 14, 2007
The Indonesian government, in an attempt to boost the
declining number of foreign visitors, has decided to
reopen a dozen international tourism offices in 2006.
Indonesia could not achieve its tourist arrival target
of 5.5 million in 2006, with only 4.8 million foreigners
visiting the country, according to Indonesia’s Tourism
Minister Jero Wacik.
Indonesia has set a target of 6 million foreign visitors
for 2007 and 8 million for 2009.
The Indonesian government will reopen its tourism
representative offices in 12 world capitals, including
in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
It was forced to close those offices several years ago
following the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis and the
consequent shortage of funds.
“In line with the improving economy, we will reopen
those offices this year to back up the government’s
target of 1 million additional tourist arrivals
annually,” Jero Wacik said.
He said Indonesia had on average received only 5 million
tourists annually in the past decade, much less than
neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.
The Indonesian government also will boost tourism
promotion funds to compete with its neighbours.
The government has also planned new measures to step up
security. A string of terrorist attacks, earthquakes,
tsunamis, bird-flu outbreaks, and domestic sectarian
violence have damaged Indonesia’s reputation as a safe
However, the government’s own policies have also damaged
the industry. In 2004, officials inexplicably began
charging tourists from Europe, Australia, Japan and the
United States – their top visitors – 30 dollars for a
visa on arrival, claiming that the country’s pride was
at stake because Indonesians had to pay for visas to
visit those nations.