Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said at least 65 chartered flights carrying 23,000 Chinese from 11 cities in China had landed on Bali.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Thousands of Chinese have flocked to Bali to cerebrate Chinese new year using chartered flights of a number of airlines including Garuda Indonesia

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said here on Monday at least 65 chartered flights carrying 23,000 Chinese from 11 cities in China had landed on Bali.

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

Other airlines carrying Chinese to Bali on chartered flights include HongKong Airlines, Shenzen airlines, Air Asia, China Southern, China Eastern, Dragon Air, Cathay Paciific, Eva Air, Singapore Airlines, Brunai Air, etc.

Arief said the airlines could serve to promote Bali in China.

"They speak good things about Bali, its beauty and generosity of its people, " he said.

He attributed the success in luring Chinese to Bali to intensive advertising, and sales by a marketing team of the tourism ministry.

He said he had instructed the provision of 6,000 souvenirs for the tourists and facilities to entertain the visitors.

The tourism ministry has launched promotion campaigns to attract Chinese to cerebrate Chinese new year in Bali since early January.

"Winter in northern China including Beijing and the province of Heilongjiang is extreme 15 degree Celsius below zero prompting people from that region to leave for warm place and choose Bali to celebrate the new year," he said.

In 2016, the tourism ministry sets the target for foreign visitors to Bali at 1.7 million . In February alone the target is set at 200,000 visitors.

"China is a potential market , a big market. Therefore it needs special handling," Arief said.

Arief said currently only 1.14 million Chinese tourists visit Indonesia a year far smaller than 8 million to Thailand.

"We have been lagging too far behind . If they are so interested in visiting Thailand , they should be more so in Indonesia," he said, adding Indonesia needs only to intensify promotion.

Generally Chinese tourist like beach resorts and shopping, he said.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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