INDONESIA’S tourism industry is experiencing some of its best days with a 19.34 percent increase in arrivals in the first four months of 2017 compared to the same period last year.
As they are in most Southeast Asian nations, Chinese tourists are contributing to the influx in Indonesia with more than 2.4 million arrivals projected by the end of 2017.
According to Antara News, the Chinese embassy recorded over half a million Chinese tourists in the first three months of the year alone.
Embassy chargé d’affaires Sun Weide told reporters Chinese tourists had contributed at least US$2 billion in foreign exchange to the country.
The Jakarta Post reported this was in large part because of the partnership between Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry and Chinese web services company Baidu, which records more than 300 million users monthly.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya was quoted in the publication: “Almost every country in the world have eyes on Chinese tourists; their outbound travelers reach 120 million people per year and 70 percent of Chinese travelers do their traveling preparation online.”
Arief said he’s been actively working with Indonesian airlines to add direct routes to China. “I’m asking Garuda [Indonesia] to add more direct flights to China. Seven secondary cities in China already use charter flights; if we change it to scheduled flights, I’m sure it will attract more tourists,” he said.
In May, the ministry organized a sales mission roadshow in the cities of Chengdu and Shanghai to lure tourists.
Some of the destinations marketed to the Chinese on the trip were the “10 New Bali” destinations including Lake Toba, Mount Bromo, and Komodo Island.
Last year, the Chinese accounted for the largest tourist group in Indonesia, making up 13 percent of total national arrivals. Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Japan trailed closely.