Tourism promotion events organized by Indonesia in China have resulted in a significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the countrys tourist destinations, particularly Bali and North Sulawesi.
Chinese tourists constituted 28.15 percent of the total 1.81 million foreign tourist arrivals in Bali between January and April this year.
North Sulawesi has also enjoyed a sharp increase in the number of Chinese visitors in the first quarter of 2017.
During the period between January and March, North Sulawesi had recorded a five-fold increase in the number of foreign tourists reaching 17,335, of which most were Chinese, from 3,467 during the same period last year.
Chinese tourists have dominated, in terms of the number of visitors to North Sulawesi. In March alone, 3,889 Chinese tourists had visited the province, or 75 percent of the total number of foreign visitors.
Other tourist arrivals were from Singapore, Germany, the United States, and Hong Kong.
In April 2017, Chinese also constituted the largest number of foreign tourists visiting North Sulawesi.
"In April 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting North Sulawesi reached 4,477, constituting 72.84 percent of the total foreign tourist arrivals," Moh Edy Mahmud, head of the North Sulawesi statistic office, stated in Manado, recently.
Apart for conducting intensive tourism promotion activities, the significant rise is also owing to the regular direct flights between Manado, the provinces capital, and China, as well as to chartered flights.
The number of foreign tourists visiting North Sulawesi in April 2017 had increased 312.82 percent, from 1,427 tourists recorded in April 2016.
The second largest number of foreign tourists visiting the province was from Singapore, with 201 travelers, or 3.27 percent of the total number; followed by Germany, 169 tourists, or 2.75 percent; and those from the UK, 119 people, or 1.94 percent.
North Sulawesi also received 117 tourists from the US, or 1.90 percent of the total number; 108 Australians, or 1.76 percent; 76 Malaysians, or 1.24 percent; 65 Japanese, or 1.06 percent; 45 French, or 0.73 percent; and 38 Dutch, or 0.62 percent.
Furthermore, the number of direct flights connecting Manado, North Sulawesi Province, to cities in China is expected to increase, as more Chinese tourists are showing interest to visit the province.
"This June, charter flights will be operated to and from Wuhan twice a week by Lion Air," Yuristo Ardhi, communication and legal section head of airport operator Angkasa Pura chapter at the Sam Ratulangi International Airport, stated.
Lion Air will also operate flights to Baiyun, Guangzhou, in China, thrice a week, while Citilink will serve direct flights on the Manado-Fuzhou route twice a week.
"Hence, we will prepare space to accommodate Chinese tourists to make them feel comfortable," he noted.
As an international airport, Sam Ratulangi is able to accommodate domestic and international tourists.
Its runways and other facilities are also ready to handle small and large aircraft.
"We have just made some improvement to make the passengers at the airport feel comfortable," he noted.
North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey had recently stated that infrastructure at tourist attractions and destinations in North Sulawesi will also be developed and further improved.
The province located on Sulawesi (Celebes) Island is looking forward to attract more Chinese tourists to visit its cities by offering what several Chinese tourists love: seas and tasty cuisine.
It offers a variety of natural panoramas, with beaches, hills, volcanic mountains, and scenic plateaus.
The scenic and biodiverse Bunaken Marine National Park, which is just about 10 kilometers from Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi Province, is one of the most famous tourist destinations. The park has been inscribed in the list of World Natural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
Bunaken has an amazing and diverse marine life, with 70 different corals, five species of sea turtles, several fish species, and even white and black tip reef sharks, the almost extinct dugongs, and barracudas.
For food lovers, Manado could be an ideal destination to visit, as it has become one of the top destinations for the best traditional Indonesian cuisines, such as spicy chicken Rica-rica and Roa fish Rica-rica, with Klaapertart as a recommended dessert.
Chinese tourists have, so far, visited only five destinations in the province: Manado, Tomohon, Bitung, Minahasa, and North Minahasa.
The local government is currently developing new destinations to boost foreign tourist arrivals. The province will promote Sitaro, Sangihe, and Talaud Islands, which have beautiful beaches and crystal clear water.(*)