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Indonesian Tourism will Continue to Grow

Minister Wacik: World Financial Crisis May Slow, But Not Halt Growth of National Tourism Sector.

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Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, has renewed his assertion that the national tourism sector has nothing to worry about in the face of the world-wide financial crisis.

Wacik, as quoted by the State news agency Antara, said: "Indeed foreign tourist arrivals are not as dynamic as they were before the crisis. Nonetheless, we are confident our tourism arrivals that (formerly) grew at a rate of between 15-16% can still achieve around 5-6% growth." The Minister's comments were made at a opening ceremony for a new hotel in the Tuban area of South Kuta.

Wacik cited a World Tourism Organization (WTO) survey that estimates world tourism will shrink by 2 percent because of the current financial crisis, but that tourism in the Asia region is expected to perform marginally better and actually grow slightly in 2009.

Wacik continued: "We often look at a figure of 5% as small, but when compared to other countries, we are still O.K.. If new hotels can still open, this means tourists are still coming to Indonesia. A few days ago I opened a new hotel in Manado (North Sulawesi), yesterday in Bandung (West Java), today in Bali and soon another hotel in Bandung."

The Minister in charge of national tourism also urged the management of the nation's hotels to act cautiously when taking business decision tied to hotel occupancy levels. "If the occupancy level is still above 60%, that's still good. If that number goes down, don't rush to lay-off employees. That's getting ahead of yourself," warned Wacik.

He urged all tourism professionals Ė including hoteliers, to be patient if there is a decrease in visitors for he is certain that in the months ahead, assuring all that the numbers will once again grow. Wacik added: "Because of this, hotels must continue to promote so tourists will continue to come. Everyone must promote Indonesia for visits by foreign tourists."

The Minister said that his ministry will always support international events in Indonesia, in order that these events can stimulate additional visitors to fill the country's hotels.

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