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Indonesia to reopen its tourism offices overseas




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 tourism destination.

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.



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