Govt sets 2012 tourist arrival target at 8 mln

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry has set the target of tourist arrivals for 2012 at 8 million, with foreign exchange earnings projected to reach US$8.98 billion.

The figure represented a 7.35 percent increase compared to this year`s, the director of the ministry`s market development, Sadar Pakarti Budi said here on Friday.

The government has set itself the target of attracting 7.7 million tourists for 2011.

"The tourism sector is projected to grow 6.42 percent this year," he said.

In anticipation of unexpected thing next year, the ministry had set three versions of tourist arrival targets, namely a pessimistic target of 7.8 million, a moderate target of 7.9 million and optimistic target of 8 million, he said.

He expressed his optimism the tourism industry would grow positively according to the target thanks to the improving competitive edge of the Indonesian tourism.

The competitive edge of the Indonesian tourism would become increasingly stronger in terms of budget, tourist arrivals, foreign exchange earnings, representative offices and direct flight seats which currently stood at 15 million.

"So far we have provided visa-free facilities to 12 countries and visa-on-arrival (VOA) facilities to 64 countries," he said.

Looking ahead, he said the development of tourism industry would be focused on ecotourism, meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE), sports event, heritage, shopping, honeymoon, cruise, culture and arts show, spa and healthcare.

To achieve the tourist arrival target of 8 million, the ministry would apply an integrated strategy by among others disseminating tagline Wonderful Indonesia, eying special segments and intensifying marketing activities.