"If the situation is normal, I believe the target could be achieved," Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya stated here on Saturday.
Indonesia has set a target of three million Chinese tourist arrivals in the country for 2018.
However, the Tourism Ministry revised downward the target to 2.6 million following a series of earthquakes in the island of Lombok and a disastrous earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in the province of Central Sulawesi.
More than 1.87 million Chinese tourists visited Indonesia during the January-October 2018 period.
In 2017, the ministry had targeted to attract 2.5 million Chinese tourists. However, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in the country reached less than two million, apparently due to the eruption of Mount Agung in the resort island of Bali.
An estimated 120 million Chinese tourists holiday abroad every year.
The minister expressed optimism that the target of 3.5 million Chinese tourist arrivals for 2019 would be achieved after the ministry designated Singapore as a hub for the Indonesian tourism market.
"Our weakness is that we do not have many direct flights. Singapore now has 11 direct flight routes to Indonesia, and we will benefit from them," he stated.
He said Indian tourists awaited direct flights to Indonesia for three years. With the presence of the hub, the number of Indian tourists visiting Indonesia has increased unexpectedly.
"The number of Indian tourists suddenly exceeded the number of (South) Korean tourists in 2017. In 2018, the number of Indian tourists overtook Japanese travelers. Since the past, we have praised Japan but the number of Japanese tourists remained stagnant at 500 thousand," he noted.
Last year, over 500 thousand Indian tourists had visited Indonesia, while the number of Japanese tourist arrivals in Indonesia was still 500 thousand this year, he remarked.
Hence, the ministry has projected the number of Indian tourists visiting Indonesia to increase to 650 thousand next year.
Reporting by M. Irfan Ilmie
Editing by Suharto