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Ardika: Tourism Arrivals to Grow 18% in Q1 2004

Minister Optimistic that Targeted 5 Million Visitors for 2004 Will be Achieved.

(4/12/2004) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. I Gede Ardika, remains confident that the country will achieve its targeted goal of 5 million visitors, improving from the 4.4 million recorded in 2003.

According to Minister Ardika, he expects foreign tourist arrival statistics to show an increase of 18% as compared to 2003, during the first three months of this year. Quoted in the English-language Jakarta Post, the Minister said, "there has been a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals lately despite fears of an unfavorable environment as painted by many analysts and several industry players." He credited the country successful handling of the security and political situation during the current election process as making a major contribution to growing tourism numbers.

Despite earlier predictions that the visa-on-arrival would reduce tourist arrivals, the Minister said that there appears to be no significant impact from the new policy on people's desire to visit Indonesia.