Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 248,852 confirmed infections, 9,677 deaths (21 September 2020)
21 September 2020 (closed)
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It is highly likely that Indonesia will achieve its foreign visitor arrival target of 12 million people in 2016. In the first ten months of 2016 a total of 9.4 million foreigners already visited Indonesia, up 9.5 percent year-on-year (y/y) compared to foreign visitor arrivals in the same period one year earlier. Moreover, before the year-end, Indonesia's Tourism Ministry will organize several events - including a soccer tournament on the island of Bintan as well as the Festival Wonderful Indonesia - that should attract many additional foreign tourist arrivals.
Based on the latest data from Indonesia's Statistics Agency (BPS) - these data cover the month October 2016 - most tourists that visited Indonesia originated from China (12.4 percent of total foreign visitor arrivals), followed by Malaysia (12.1 percent), Singapore (11.4 percent), Australia (11.0 percent), and Japan (4.1 percent).
Foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia are related to the presence of terrorist attacks. When in the 2000s Islamic radicals killed hundreds of people (including many foreign tourists) through bombings in Bali and Jakarta, foreign visitors arrivals declined rapidly in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. Since 2009 there have not been any significant terrorist attacks in Indonesia that were directed towards foreigners and therefore we see gradually rising tourist numbers in Indonesia after 2010.
Indeed, terrorists committed another vicious attack on the streets of Central Jakarta in January 2016 in which several people were killed but this did not make foreigners avoid Indonesia. This could be explained by the fact that these terrorists were aiming at Indonesian police, not at foreigners. Moreover, Western countries have now also been the scene of terror attack (for example France and Belgium) and therefore foreigners may realize that a trip to Indonesia is not riskier compared to a trip to a city such as Paris.
Still, a stable society does of course help to attract foreign tourists. Therefore, it is good that the massive anti-Ahok demonstration on Friday (02/12) went peacefully. Previously, ethnic and religious tensions had flared up in Indonesia due to "Ahok's blasphemy case".
Indonesian Tourism Minister Arif Yahya said he is confident that the government's target of welcoming 12 million foreign visitors in 2016 will be achieved. He added the government is currently busy promoting ten tourist destinations to tourists.
10 Priority Tourist Destinations of the Indonesian Government:
off the coast of Jakarta
Source: Investor Daily
By 2020 the Indonesian government wants to attract 20 million tourists from abroad. Yahya says this should be possible considering Indonesia has plenty to offer to tourists, such as beautiful natural scenery, numerous local cultures, as well as interesting cuisine.
Another factor that helps to attract foreign tourist arrivals into Indonesia is the government's decision to allow visa-free access to Indonesia for 169 countries through Presidential Regulation no.69/2015 on Exemptions of Visit Visa. Furthermore, Indonesia also introduced a new regulation on yacht and cruise ships. This new regulation lifts cabotage rights for international cruises and yachts, meaning international cruise liners are now able to lift and disembark passengers in five Indonesian seaports. Previously, only Indonesian-flagged ships were allowed by law to lift and disembark passengers in Indonesian waters.
However, a lot of investment in Indonesia's tourism sector is required to attract tourists. This investment particularly involves both soft and hard infrastructure as well as the establishment of hotels, tourist attractions and educating local human resources. It is estimated up to IDR 200 trillion (approx. USD $14.8 billion) is needed to improve the tourism sector. Earlier, the central government indicated it can only provide IDR 30 trillion and therefore the private sector is envisaged to play a large role. Therefore, it is key for the government to provide a conducive investment climate.
Below we present foreign visitor arrivals into Indonesia in recent years. Please note that Indonesia's Statistics Agency (BPS) adjusted the definition of foreign visitor arrival per January 2016. This explains the sharp increase in foreign visitor arrivals between 2016 and 2015.
Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2013-2016:
Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2007-2015:
Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)