Indonesia wants more Chinese tourists

Added On December 14, 2015

Indonesia is aiming to attract more tourists from China as part of its target of seeing 20 million foreign tourists visit the country by 2019 from 9 million expected this year, amid enhanced efforts by the tourism ministry to hit the target.
Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya says his ministry has regarded Chinese tourists as the country's most important visitors.
He made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Jakarta.
"In 2014 Chinese tourists were almost 1 million. Hopefully this year, 2015, it could be 1.3 million. We are projecting that next year 2016 should be around 2 million."
The huge potential of Chinese tourists to boost Indonesia's tourism sector has been seen from a significant influx to Indonesia of foreign tourists owing to tourist-related mechanisms implemented by the government.
China, the world's second-largest economy, has steadily seen visitors from the Asian powerhouse visiting Indonesia increase over the past few years.
Data showed that the numbers of Chinese tourists coming to Indonesia grew the most in recent years. 
In the first 8 months of this year, Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia grew 20.74 percent, compared to the same period last year.
Arief realizes that Indonesia still has minimum promotion activities to facilitate visit of more Chinese tourists into the country.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): ARIEF YAHYA, Indonesian Tourism Minister
"In destination, we have weaknesses as well in airlines, the direct route from China to Singapore is around 86 percent, from China to Malaysia 78 percent direct flight. In Indonesia the direct flight is only 37 percent, so half compared to Malaysia and Singapore. It’s why the number of tourists visiting Indonesia from China is smaller compared to Singapore and Malaysia. I'm going to meet some airliners in China as well as Indonesia to open new direct flight from China to Indonesia."
In addition, the Indonesian government also plans to expand the Zheng He Maritime Road tour package that offers historical tours of the Chinese Great Admiral Zheng He's visit to Indonesia some 600 years ago.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): ARIEF YAHYA, Indonesian Tourism Minister
"About destination, first we are going to develop new destination, such as Zhenghe Silk Road, and then we are offering new destinations such as Manado. I will say, they will visit Indonesia more not just to bali but other places like Jakarta, bintan, and especially manado. Chinese tourists love manado very much."
The minister adds that Indonesia would also support the idea to launch a Maritime Silk Road Tour package initiated by China as part of its Belt and Road initiative that makes tourism and culture an important cornerstone.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): ARIEF YAHYA, Indonesian Tourism Minister
"This is a very good initiative, Zhenghe Silk Road. In Indonesia we have already launched Zhenghe road in Batam at the time, around February this year, and we are going to launch in 9 other cities in Indonesia for Zhenghe Road."
Indonesia aims to see 8 percent contribution of its tourism sector to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2019, with proceeds totaling 17.3 billion U.S. dollars at that time.