Yahya said foreign visitor arrivals to Bali cannot fall below the targeted seven million next year. After all, this target is low compared with tourist arrivals in neighboring cities (or city states) such as Bangkok (Thailand) and Singapore. "Bangkok attracts about 18 million foreigners, so Bali - where there is much more to see and do - should actually be able to welcome more foreign tourists," Yahya said.

In full-year 2017 the Indonesian government targets Bali to attract more than six million foreign tourists. However, this target will not be achieved due to the Mount Agung eruption. Up to October, around five million foreign visitors visited Bali, thus at that moment the target was likely to be achieved. But unfortunately activity of Mount Agung interrupted many holidays to Bali in the last two months of 2017. Several nations in fact imposed travel warnings for Bali.

For example, China imposed a travel warning for Bali from 27 November 2017 to 4 January 2018, implying almost no Chinese tourists opt to visit Bali within that period. Considering China is a big source of foreign tourists to Bali, the travel ban was felt by Bali's tourism industry.

In order to make tourist numbers to Bali rebound and accelerate in the post Mount Agung eruption era, the Indonesian government plans to spend IDR 100 billion (approx. USD $7.4 million) on branding, advertising and hard selling (the latter refers to big discount offerings). The government targets both foreign and domestic tourists.

For Indonesia's tourism industry, Bali is still the key location. More than 50 percent of foreign visitor arrivals in Indonesia enter the country through Ngurah Rai International Airport on Bali.

But Indonesia should not be dependent on Bali. Therefore the government selected ten priority tourist destinations (see below) that all should become major centers of tourism in the future. However, these locations all require significant infrastructure development.

With the help of these priority tourist destinations, Indonesia aims to welcome at least 20 million foreign visitor arrivals by 2019. It may be a too ambitious target considering Indonesia will fail to welcome 15 million tourist arrivals in 2017 (however the Mount Agung eruption can be blamed for this). Up to October, a total of 11.6 million foreign visitor arrivals were counted so far this year.

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

Source: Investor Daily