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Tough Times Prompt a Tourism Refocus

Prospect of Fewer Visitors Causes a Rethink on Future Tourism Sources.

(3/31/2003) Indonesia's lowered tourism target of 4.5 foreign visitors spending Rp. 4.3 trillion (approximately US$ 4.83 billion) - numbers projected by the Government of Indonesia for 2003, may prove increasing difficult to achieve in the face of a troubled world economy, the world-wide SARS health scare, and a continuing U.S. assault on Iraq.

Indonesia's Minister for Culture and Tourism, I Gede Ardika, reaffirmed his belief that current targets would be realized in comments he made before a tourism coordinating meeting on March 26 in Jakarta.

To meet the projected numbers the Government and the tourism industry are concentrating on increasing numbers from near neighbors among fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and visitors from Japan, The People's Republic of China, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Seeking Domestic Markets

In order to compensate for any shortfalls in international tourist numbers Indonesian tourism is also seeking to stimulate domestic tourism.

Indonesia's Chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Ms. Yanti Soekamdani, maintains that Indonesia's tourism future is grounded in domestic tourism. Ms. Soekamdani pointed to India where 70% of its tourism revenues are yielded from domestic tourism and the United States where a massive tourism industry is essentially driven by domestic tourists.