Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla, through his Twitter account, conveyed his greetings on Chinese Lunar New Year 2567, wishing for peaceful and prosperous festivities.

"Hoping it is always peaceful, prosperous, and merry," Kalla stated, here, Monday.

The Lunar New Year, which is locally known as Imlek, is celebrated across the country.

At the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the Barongsai dragon dance and Wushu martial art performances are held as part of the Imlek celebrations.

"This is a routine activity organized by the Soekarno-Hatta airports management to celebrate national holidays, including Imlek. But, this year, it is a bit different, and everything is free of charge," the airports Senior General Manager, Zulfahmi, noted in a statement.

In Bali, thousands of Chinese tourists have arrived in Bali aboard chartered flights of several airlines, including Garuda Indonesia, to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya remarked that at least 65 chartered flights carrying 23 thousand Chinese from 11 cities in China had landed in Bali.

"It seems that Bali has become the favorite destination for Chinese tourists. More than 114 million Chinese travel abroad every year," Arief affirmed.

He attributed the success achieved in luring Chinese tourists to Bali to intensive advertising and sales by the tourism ministrys marketing team.

Arief said he had instructed the provision of six thousand souvenirs for the tourists and facilities to entertain the visitors.

The minister stated that currently, only 1.14 million Chinese tourists annually visit Indonesia, far lesser than eight million to Thailand.

"We have been lagging far behind. If they are so interested in visiting Thailand, they should be more so in Indonesia," he emphasized, adding that Indonesia only needs to intensify its promotional activities.

The tourism ministry is optimistic of receiving two million Chinese tourists in 2019, according to an official.

"For 2016, we have set a target of attracting 1.7 million Chinese tourists, and two million in 2019," Hari Untoro Dradjat, an expert staff of the tourism ministry, noted in Denpasar, Bali, on Sunday evening.

Some 12 million Chinese travel to Asia and the Pacific region a year, and Indonesia hopes to lure two million of them, he stated while greeting some 400 Chinese visitors during an Imlek Festival in Bali.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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