Jakarta, (ANTARA News) - China has overtaken Australia in contributing the largest number of foreign tourists to Indonesia, and Chinese tourist spending too has increased.

Every Chinese tourist, on an average, spends about US$1,000 in Indonesia per visit, with the length of stay averaging five days.

Chinese tourists have become an increasingly lucrative segment for Indonesia. Earlier, their spending averaged only US$700-$800 each per visit, but now, they have become bigger spenders.

Some 200 thousand Chinese visit Indonesia per month, Vincent Jemadu, director of Great China Promotion of the Tourism Ministry, stated on September 25, 2018.

The best seller among Indonesian tour packages in China is that for five days, inclusive of flights.

The Tourism Ministry has set this year`s target for Chinese tourist arrivals at 2.6 million.

The Tourism Ministry is optimistic of the target of 2.6 million visits being achieved this year.

Some 1.5 million visits by Chinese tourists to Indonesia have already been recorded in the first eight months of the year.

During the 2016-2017 period, Chinese tourists were recorded as the largest group of foreign travelers visiting Indonesia, outnumbering Australian visitors and those from Singapore and Malaysia.

However, the target to draw more Chinese tourists to Indonesia faces a roadblock, with only limited number of Mandarin speaking guides in the country.

Some 40 percent of the Chinese tourists arriving in the country flew in directly to Bali, 30 percent entered the country via Jakarta, and 20 percent via the Riau Islands.

However, lately, a sharp increase has been recorded in the number of Chinese tourists entering the country via Manado, North Sulawesi.

Some 10 thousand Chinese tourists visit Manado every month, on an average, especially after the opening of direct flight service between Manado and several cities in China served by various airlines.

Air transport between Indonesia and China is forecast to be brisker, with fast growing number of Chinese tourists visiting the country.

Citilink, the subsidiary of the country`s flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, will open new routes to China mainly to facilitate transport of Chinese tourists.

The subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, so far concentrating on serving domestic routes, will offer regular flights to three cities in China -- Kunming, Nanjing, and Xianmen -- starting October 2018.

The opening of new routes will certainly increase the number of Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia, Director of Promotion of Great China of the Tourism Ministry Vincent Jemadu stated.

The program will contribute to meeting the country`s target of foreign tourist arrivals.

The government has, so far, opened air routes between Indonesia and 33 cities in China, but the routes have been served by chartered flights of the flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, Lion Air, and Sriwijaya.

China Southern plans to double the frequency of flights to Bali from seven to 14 flights a week, starting October 2018.

The government is optimistic of attracting at least five million Chinese tourists to Indonesia in 2020. It is only a small number of Chinese outbound tourists per year.

Some 135 million Chinese outbound travelers were recorded in 2016, up six percent from 2015. In 2012, China became the world`s top spender in international tourism and has remained so ever since.

Meanwhile, Indonesia received some 9.1 million visits by foreign tourists in the first seven months of this year.

Chinese tourists accounted for the largest in number of the 224,538 visits, Nia Niscaya, a deputy for marketing II of the ministry, stated recently.

Other countries with significant number of tourists visiting Indonesia, included India, with 52,541 visits; Saudi Arabia, 37,188 visits; the United Arab Emirates, 1,825 visits; Britain, 40,881 visits; France 51,594 visits; Russia, 7,192 visits; Japan, 49,619 visits; South Korea, 36,818 visits; and the United States, 39,540 visits.

The numbers of visits fluctuated but tended to increase in the seven months, up from 1,100,222 visits in January to 1,201,001 visits in February and to 1,363,339 visits in March. The numbers dropped to 1,300,738 visits in April and to 1,200,815 in May before rising again to 1,318,028 in June and to 1,536,489 visits in July.

The country earned Rp144 trillion from the tourism sector in 2015, up to Rp172 trillion in 2016, and to Rp200 trillion in 2017. In 2018, the contribution of the tourism sector to the country`s income is forecast to reach Rp223 trillion.

The number of visits rose from 10 million in 2015 to 12 million in 2016, to 15 million in 2017, and to an estimated 17 million in 2018.

The number of domestic travels by Indonesians in the country rose, from 255 million in 2015 to 260 million in 2016 and to 265 million in 2017. In 2018, the number is forecast to reach 270 million.

The government has sought to develop its tourism industry to become a major foreign exchange earner. More intensive promotional campaigns have been launched by the Tourism Ministry in the country and abroad.


Reporter: Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Otniel Tamindael
Copyright © ANTARA 2018