Foreign tourist arrivals have grown steadily in Indonesia over the past years as there have been no major violent incidents. Terrorist bombings, such as the 2002/2005 Bali bombings and the 2009 Ritz-Carlton/Marriott Hotel bombings in Jakarta, seriously curbed foreigners’ enthusiasm to visit the archipelago. However, in the past five years, there have been no terrorist acts directed against foreigners or western symbols in Indonesia. Instead, terrorist activity in Indonesia has been directed at symbols of the Indonesian state (such as police officers and police stations). This shift is considered the result of successful anti-terrorist strategies conducted by Densus 88 (a special counter-terrorism squad established in 2003 and which is believed to be funded and trained by the CIA, FBI, US Secret Service and Australian Special Forces) and the Indonesian police force.

Main Points of Entry Foreign Tourists in Indonesia:

Location December 2013 December 2014 Jan-Dec 2013 Jan-Dec 2014
Ngurah Rai Airport (Bali)        292,961        341,111    3,241,889    3,731,735
Soekarno-Hatta Airport (Jakarta)        189,005        190,598    2,240,502    2,246,437
Batam        153,797        171,907    1,336,340    1,454,110

Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)

Despite showing steady growth in terms of foreign tourist arrivals, Indonesia still lags far behind its neighbours Malaysia and Singapore. Malaysia welcomed a total of 18.4 million tourists between January and August 2014, up 10.3 percent from the same period in 2013. Meanwhile, total visitor arrivals to Singapore fell 3.4 percent (year-on-year) in the first 11 months of 2014 to 13.7 million. Considering that Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest economy, the world’s largest archipelago, and contains plenty of interesting places for both foreign and domestic tourism, the country still has ample room for growth in the years ahead particularly if the country manages to boost infrastructure development and unlocks transportation bottlenecks as well as raises the quality of services in the tourism industry. Currently, Indonesia’s tourism industry contributes about 4 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The government targets to have doubled this figure to 8 percent of GDP by 2019. If achieved, this will create 13 million new jobs.

Regarding 2015, Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya targets to welcome 10 million foreign visitors to Indonesia, collecting a total of USD $12.05 billion in foreign exchange earnings as each foreign tourist is expected to spend USD $1,200 per visit. Meanwhile, the number of domestic tourists is estimated to reach 254 million this year (spending USD $16 billion in total). To meet these targets, Yahya said that the Indonesian government will focus on improving the country’s infrastructure (including ICT infrastructure), health & hygiene and accessibility as well as online promotional (marketing) campaigns abroad.

Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia - 2013-2014:

Month  Tourist Arrivals
 Tourist Arrivals
January        614,328        753,079
February        678,415        702,666
March        725,316        765,607
April        646,117        726,332
May        700,708        752,363
June        789,594        851,475
July        717,784        777,210
August        771,009        826,821
September        770,878        791,296
October        719,900        808,767
November        807,422        764,461
December        766,966        915,334
Total       8,802,129       9,435,411

Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)

Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia - 2007-2014:

    2007   2008   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014
Foreign Tourists
(in millions)
  5.51   6.23   6.32   7.00   7.65   8.04    8.80    9.44

¹ indicates government target
Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)