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6 July 2020 (closed)
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Based on the latest data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Indonesia only managed to welcome 9.73 million foreign tourists in 2015, hence failing to achieve the government target at 10 million foreign tourist arrivals. However, BPS also mentioned that it has developed a new counting system. According to this new system the number of people that are counted as foreign tourists in 2015 is 10.41 million, thus considerably exceeding the target set for 2015. What are the differences between these two systems?
Previously, Indonesia's statistics agency only included the following segments when counting the number of (regular) foreign tourist arrivals in to the country:
1) Foreigners with or without a visa or electronic card (Saphire, APEC Business Travel Card)
2) Indonesians who live abroad
However, it its latest report BPS announced it added the following segments:
A) Foreigners arriving through border crossing posts (in Indonesian: Pos Pelintas Batas, or PLB). Unfortunately, BPS provides no further details about these PLBs but we assume it now adds those border crossing posts that previously were not officially approved as an “International Gateway” by the Indonesian Immigration Department.
B) Foreigners who stay in Indonesia for less than one year. This applies to
i) those who do not work (for example elderly who retire in Indonesia, foreigners studying at educational or training centers, those who conduct research, etc.).
ii) those who work (in construction, consultancy, instructors, etc.)
It remains unclear, however, how Indonesia's statistics agency exactly differentiates (1) from (B). Unfortunately, the report did not discuss its counting systems in depth and therefore we cannot explain it here (yet).
The difference between these two sets of counting system also makes the difference between achieving and missing the government target of welcoming 10 million foreign tourist arrivals in the country in 2015. Based on the old system, Indonesia managed to attract 9.73 million foreign tourists, up 3.12 percent from the preceding year. This is the slowest growth pace since 2012. Such sluggish growth can be explained by weakish global economic growth (limiting purchasing power of foreigners), the severe forest fires that caused smog across a large part of Southeast Asia between September and November, and perhaps also the death penalties for seven foreigners (from Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Malawi, Nigeria, and Vietnam) in early 2015. Particularly the forest fires and executions of drug smugglers left a bad impression (which will require some months to be forgotten and therefore we do not see any long-term damage).
On the other hand, tourist numbers were encouraged by Indonesia's decision to grant an additional 45 countries the visa-free access facility to Indonesia (through Presidential Regulation no.69/2015 on Exemptions of Visit Visa) and enhanced promotional activities abroad. However, there remain serious infrastructure and accessibility bottlenecks that need to be overcome in order to generate more foreign tourist arrivals, especially in remote beauties such as Raja Ampat (West Papua) and Labuan Bajo (Flores). Didien Junaedy, Head of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI), stated that with the completion of a number of infrastructure projects this year, the country should manage to attract 12 million foreign tourist arrivals.
In 2015 Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) stood at IDR 11,412.30 trillion (approx. USD $837 billion), with the tourism sector accounting for four percent of GDP.
Further Reading: Overview & analysis of Indonesia's Tourism Industry
Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the country will adopt a "single destination, single management" concept in 2016 to develop ten priority tourist destinations. These include the Borobudur (Central Java), Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Labuan Bajo (Nusa Tenggara), Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park (East Java), Thousand Islands (near Jakarta), Lake Toba (North Sumatra), Wakatobi National Park (Southeast Sulawesi), Tanjung Lesung (Banten), Morotai Island (near Halmahera) and Tanjung Kelayang (Belitung). This concept should contribute to achieving the government's target of welcoming 12 million tourists in 2016, and generating some USD $12.6 billion in foreign exchange revenue.
Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2013-2015:
|Month|| Tourist Arrivals
| Tourist Arrivals
| Tourist Arrivals
Foreign Tourist Arrivals in Indonesia, 2007-2015:
Source: Statistics Indonesia (BPS)