Govt`s tourist arrival target "no big deal": Observer

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The culture and tourism minister`s target of enticing seven million plus foreign tourists to visit Indonesia in 2011 is "no big deal", a non-governmental organization concerned with tourism said.

"The culture and tourism ministry reached last year`s target of seven million, so I think the target for this year of 7.7 million foreign tourists is not a big deal," Diyah Mulahela, director of the Institute for Development of Tourism Information, said here Thursday.

Diyak said the number of foreign tourists targeted by the minister for this year was very small compared with the numbers of foreign tourists coming to Malaysia and Singapore.

"Malaysia attracted about 23 million tourists in 2010, while Indonesia only aims for seven million plus visitors in 2011. So it will be quite easy for the minister although he still has to make some efforts," she said.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries combined plan to attract a total of at least l60 million tourists in 2011, she said. But by far the Largest portion of that number would visit Malaysia and Singapore.

Diyak said the culture and tourism Ministry needed to work hard to devise a strategy to attract foreign tourists in a number exceeding the official target.

The responsibility for attracting a maximum number of foreign tourists mainly rested on the shoulders of the culture and tourism ministry,provincial and district administration as well as the local tourism industry. They all needed to work synergistically to improve the services for tourists visiting Indonesia, she said.

"Service is all-important. If tourists from foreign countries are served well in our country, I bet they will come again with more people , their friends and relatives," Diyah said.

He added, aside from giving good service to the tourists, creating sense of secure and comfort were also important to add more visitors seeing Indonesia. Indonesia was so rich with nature tourism, but with the limited service given, less people from foreign countries came here, he added.

In relation to the new slogan of Wonderful Indonesia, Diyak expected the travelers from other countries would be more enamored to come.

"When we hear the word `wonderful`, it is about satisfaction. Visitors who come to our country will come again if they are satisfied," she said.

Meanwhile, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said, here Thursday, that the new slogan of Wonderful Indonesia had received positive responses from stakeholders.

"We will launch the new slogan officially at the next meeting of ASEAN tourism ministers on January 17 to 18 in Cambodia," he said. (*)