Indonesian President Joko Widodo targets to welcome a total of 20 million foreign tourists in Indonesia in 2019. This is a very ambitious target considering only 12.7 million foreign visitors arrived in Indonesia in the first 11 months of 2017 (foreign visitor arrivals in December 2017 will most likely disappoint due to the eruption of Mount Agung on Bali). Thus, within the next two years, the government seeks significant growth in foreign tourist arrivals and therefore needs major investment in infrastructure and tourist facilities to be able to attract the 20 million foreign tourists by 2019.

Hiramsyah Thaib, Team Leader of Acceleration for the Development of Priority Tourism Destination at Indonesia's Tourism Ministry, said a combined total of USD $20 billion worth of investment is needed to turn the ten priority destinations (see table below) into great tourist attractions, equipped with updated infrastructure and plenty of facilities such as hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, parks, and more.

It is estimated that about USD $10 billion is needed for infrastructure development - such as roads, ports, airports, and electricity - in the ten priority tourist destinations, while the remaining USD $10 billion is needed to build all tourism facilities that are needed by tourists.

The Indonesian government can, however, only cover 10 to 20 percent of all required funds (the government will only contribute to infrastructure development such as roads and ports; it will not contribute to investment in tourist facilities), hence the private sector is envisaged to contribute most to to investment in the ten priority tourist destinations.

Thaib said a couple of priority destinations have already managed to attract a significant amount of investment. For example, Lake Toba in North Sumatra has welcomed a few investors so far. Currently, several projects are under construction near Lake Toba with a combined value of IDR 1 trillion (approx. USD $75 million).

Mandalika on the island of Lombok even managed to attract IDR 13 trillion (approx. USD $977 million) worth of investment so far. However, Mandalika was declared a Special Economic Zone (for agro industry and ecotourism industry), implying investors enjoy fiscal incentives to invest in this area.

Thaib added that investors from several countries have showed interest in projects related to the ten priority tourist destinations. These countries include China, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, the Middle East, and several European countries.

10 Priority Tourist Destinations of the Indonesian Government:

Destination Tourists
Tourist Target
Central Java
227,337     2,000,000
125,307     1,000,000
Labuan Bajo
 54,147      500,000
East Java
 33,387     1,000,000
Thousands Islands
off the coast of Jakarta
 16,384      500,000
Toba Lake
North Sumatra
 10,680     1,000,000
  3,315      500,000
Tanjung Lesu
  1,739     1,000,000
Halmahera, Maluku
   500      500,000
Tanjung Kelayang
Bangka Belitung
   451      500,000