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Government Lowers Tourism Targets

Tourism Minister Points to the Press and Accurate Information as Key to Restoring Health to the Indonesian Tourism Industry.

(10/7/2006) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, has reluctantly lowered the 5.5 million visitors' target for 2005 admitting he will be relived if 5 million visitors are tallied by the end of the current year.

Quoted in the Indonesian language Nusa Bali, Wacik said: "to my thinking 5 million visitors is already a challenge, so if we get 5 million I have done well; I will be relieved."

Wacik's comments were made in Jakarta on Tuesday, October 3, 2006, in response to a report from the Center for Statistics (BPS) that reported tourists declined in August.

According to the Minister, who dismissed the importance of the reported decline in visitors inb August: "I have studied why August declined, in fact June-July typically increase followed by a decline in August. This is a yearly cycle. Wait until October until December when numbers will again increase."

Information is the Key

Wacik admitted that foreign visitors have been affected by news of bombs and natural disasters in Indonesia. Because of this, he underlined the importance of providing rapid and accurate information, adding: "The key is information. The mass media is very important. The Tsunami in Pangandaran was reported (incorrectly) by the mass media as having occurred in West Java. Don't so easily say 'West Java' as this makes people frightened to visit Bandung and Bogor, when in fact nothing happened (in these areas). We must be diligent in localizing such problems."

The Minister re-issued his standing invitation to the world press to visit Indonesia and see the situation first hand. He explained how a press group of 30 Japanese reporters recently visited Indonesian allowing them to subsequently return to their homeland and report that Indonesia remains a safe destination for foreign visitors.

Domestic Tourism Targets

The Minister also said that he remained confident that the domestic tourism target of 160 million travelers would be achieved in 2006.