According to data provided by the National Statistics Agency and the tourism ministry, the highest growth in the number of visitors was recorded from Saudi Arabia at 127.49 percent, followed by Bahrain at 66.32 percent, United Arab Emirates at 56.96 percent, and Egypt at 44.68 percent, while the number of Chinese visitors rose by 20.60 percent.
In July, a total of 814,233 foreign tourists had visited the country, an increase of 4.76 percent compared to 777,210 in July, last year.
Cumulatively, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals grew the most at 19.99 percent, followed by Indian tourists at 10.35 percent, British tourists at 9.99 percent, Egyptian tourists at 9.66 percent, and Saudi Arabian tourists at 4.14 percent.
"The three main entry gates that recorded a positive growth in tourist arrivals in July are Balis Ngurah Rai Airport at 6.40 percent, Jakartas Soekarno-Hatta airport 3.67 percent, and Batams Airport 7.78 percent," the minister noted.
He remarked that tourist arrivals at the three gates contributed to a positive growth of 4.76 percent in July 2015.
He affirmed that a positive growth in tourism was recorded in July 2015 despite the impact of Mount Raungs eruption in East Java in mid-July that resulted in the shutdown of Ngurah Rai airport for several days.
The 3.67 percent growth in tourist arrivals at Soekarno-Hatta Airport contributed significantly to the 814,233 foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia in July 2015.
Most foreign tourist arrivals at Soekarno-Hatta airport were from Saudi Arabia, totaling 30,654, followed by China at 20,610, and Malaysia 12,707.
"The rise in the number of tourist arrivals was due to the Idul Fitri holiday, among others," he pointed out.
Minister Yahya stated that the number of tourist arrivals in July met the set target of 800 thousand, while the monthly target for August and September was set at 850 thousand respectively.
"Indonesia recorded 4,657,817 foreign tourist arrivals in the first semester comprising 47 percent of the 10 million target set for the year. We are optimistic that the target will be realized this year," he affirmed.
It is expected that 25 percent of the target will be met during the July-September period, while the remaining 30 percent will be achieved in the October-December period.
Arief pointed out that a 2.68 percent increase in tourist arrivals from January to July was better than the growth recorded in Malaysia and Singapore.
"According to their reports, Malaysias tourism recorded a negative growth of 8.6 percent in the January-May 2015 period compared to the same period last year, while Singapore posted a negative growth of 4.1 percent, and Indonesia registered a positive growth of 3.86 percent," he revealed.
He noted that Indonesia continued to show positive growth in the next two months of June and July, thereby leading to a cumulative growth of 2.69 percent in the January-July period.
He added that the implementation of the visa-free facility for the citizens of 30 countries and intensified promotion in 18 focused countries are expected to further boost tourist arrivals.
(Reporting by Hanni Sofia Soepardi/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/A014)