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National Tourism Targets Miss their Mark

Once Projected 6 Million, then 5.5 Million, then Only 5 million Indonesian arrivals Look to End the Year at a Dismal 4.8 Million.

(12/23/2006) Pundits and number-crunchers at the Department of Culture and Tourism are now predicting that total foreign arrivals to Indonesian will end the year for 2006 at around 4.8 million, far below the over-ambitious targets originally set by the Ministry of Culture of Tourism who had projected at various points in time 6 million, 5.5 million and, finally, 5.25 million foreign tourists to Indonesia for the current year.

However, at 4.8 million visitors Indonesia will only have hit 91% of its own "worst case" scenario for tourism arrivals, producing a shortfall of more than US$1 billion in much needed foreign exchange earnings.

The latest lowering of expectations is based on a paltry 3.91 million visitors nation-wide tallied through the end of October.

In comments made to the Indonesian-langue Bisnis Indonesia, the Secretary General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, cited the threat of bird flu, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, negative travel advisories, rising fuel costs and the lingering effects of the October 2005 terror attack in Bali as among the reasons tourist targets have failed to materialize.

Looking Ahead

Sapta said that the Government would be looking to increasing Indonesia's competitiveness as a destination, a greater emphasis on MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), marine tourism and eco-tourism to increase inbound numbers to the Country.