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Five Million Tourist Projected for 2004

Indonesia to Rely on 'Working Groups' to Achieve Ambitious Tourism Target.

(11/3/2003) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, I Gede Ardika, says Indonesia is targeting a total of 5 million tourism visitors to Indonesia in 2004, spending an estimate US$ 5 billion in foreign exchange during their stays.

These figures, revealed by the Minister during remarks made at the formal inauguration of the campus for the Higher School of Tourism (STP), Saturday, November 1, 2003, represent an increase from the revised targets for the current year of 4.5 million visitors spending US$ 4.5 billion.

Reliance on Working Groups

In order to achieve these targets, according to the Minister, the Government will rely heavily on the newly established "working groups" comprised of public and private sector tourism leaders who are responsible for devising and recommending tactics and strategies on a market-by-market basis.

In announcing the targets, Minister Ardika did acknowledge the special challenges presented by the current composition of visitors to Indonesia, which has recently shifted away from longer-staying and higher spending European and American visitors in favor of regional tourists. To meet this challenge, plans are underway to increase the number of visitors and the amount of money spent while in Indonesia.

Elections are Not an Issue

The minister discounted any negative impact from the holding of national elections in 2004, seeing the elections as a normal part of any democratic country's life and assuring that plans were in place to educate the world marketplace to the Indonesian electoral process, which he felt would be largely peaceful.