Various infrastructure and other supporting facilities have been built to improve connectivity and accessibility to tourist destinations.
Deregulation investment policies have been issued and incentives have been offered to lure investors to invest their money in the tourism sector in Indonesia.
The government has set a target to receive 15 million foreign tourists to Indonesia this year and 20 million by 2019. Besides, 275 million domestic tourists are expected to travel by 2019.
Tourism is projected to be the largest contributor of foreign exchange earnings, worth Rp280 trillion.
The Indonesian tourism competitiveness index is also expected to rise to the 30th position, with a workforce of 13 million.
Based on data of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), the number of visits by foreign tourists in the first four months of the year reached 4.20 million, an increase of 19.34 percent, from 3.52 million visits recorded in the same period last year.
From January to July 2017, the number of foreign tourist arrivals was 7.81 million, up 23.53 percent from 6.32 million in the same period last year.
Indonesias tourism sector has also recorded a 25.68 percent growth in recent years. The tourism industry in the ASEAN region grew only by 7 percent, while a 6 percent growth was recorded at the global level.
Moreover, 500 thousand human resource professionals are targeted to receive certifications by 2019. Until 2017, some 300 thousand workers in the sector have been certified.
English media outlet The Telegraph has identified Indonesia as one of the top 20 countries with the fastest growth in the tourism sector. The countrys tourism growth is recorded to be fourfold higher than the regional and global growth.
Chusmeru, a tourism industry observer from the University of General Soedirman, Purwokerto, lauded the countrys tourism progress, adding that "After three years in power, the Jokowi Government has been successful in developing the tourism sector."
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has also witnessed the progress made in the development of the countrys tourism industry in 2016, Chusmeru added.
He considered the tourism sector to have made a rapid growth and hoped that the government would continue to focus on its infrastructure program to accelerate the development of the tourism industry.
The Tourism Ministry has planned to organize an Indonesian Tourism Outlook (ITO) in Jakarta on Nov 1, 2017, to analyze prospects and opportunities as well as to gather inputs from various parties related to develop Indonesias tourism sector.
The ITO would gather further inputs and analyze Indonesias future tourism prospects in order to achieve the target of 20 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019, according to Deputy Minister for Tourism Development, I Gde Pitana.
Chairman of the Indonesian chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association Purnomo welcomed the planned meeting.
"I laud the event, especially to collect inputs on meeting the target of 20 million foreign tourist arrivals, which should be realized through hard work by all stakeholders, including the government, entrepreneurs, tourism players, and media," he noted.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya will be the keynote speaker at the event. Other speakers will include economic observer Faisal Basri, Senior Vice-President, Government and Industry Affairs of the World Travel and Tourism Council Helen Marano, and TripAdvisors Head of Destination Marketing APAC Sarah Mathew.
In his address, during a presentation highlighting the three-year term of the government of Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, on Oct 17, 2017, Minister Yahya remarked that based on the World Banks research, the tourism sector has become the core business in Indonesia, as it has largely contributed to the countrys gross domestic product and foreign exchange was well as created job opportunities.
The tourism sector is projected to generate the highest foreign exchange earnings in 2019, reaching US$24 billion, surpassing those generated from the oil and gas and crude palm oil sectors.
"In 2019, the tourism sector is projected to generate most of the countrys foreign exchange, higher than the oil and gas, coal, and palm oil sectors. It is the largest at both the regional and global levels," he noted during a discussion session held at the Presidential Staff Offices in Jakarta.
Foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector occupied the fourth position, after the oil and gas, coal, and palm oil sectors during the period between 2013 and 2015, but last year, it had moved to the second place, following palm oil, with $13.5 billion.
He pointed out that Thailand was Indonesias main competitor nation in the tourism sector, as its foreign exchange earnings in the sector exceeded Indonesias figure by $40 billion.(*)