Jakarta (Antara news) - As more and more high-spending Chinese tourists travel abroad, Indonesia does not want to miss the opportunity of enjoying the share of the Chinese tourist boom.

Over the past several years, the world had experienced a sharp, upward trend in overseas travel among the Chinese people. Around 3.62 billion journeys, or 200 million more than last year, are expected to be made by the Chinese people this year, CNN reported.

The Chinese travel and spend more than anyone else on the planet, according to the United Nations as quoted by CNN. They spent $102 billion on 83 million trips in 2012, and they will continue to dominate the market.

By 2020, more than 200 million Chinese people will go overseas, CNN reported, quoting a report from the Asia-Pacific brokerage firm CLSA, double the number in 2013. This explosion is due in part to higher wages, more annual leaves and easier visas.

The Indonesian government had intensified tourism promotion in China and launched a Chinese-language website to boost the number of Chinese arrivals by 37 percent to one million by the end of 2014.

Bali is one of the worlds 10-most favorite tourist destinations for the Chinese people, apart from Australia, Cape Town, Edinburgh, Hawaii, Madrid, Egypt, Niagara Falls, Paris and Switzerland, according to the result of the polling of the Beijing Peoples Broadcasting 2011.

"Most Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia choose Bali as their favorite destination for a vacation," I Gusti Ngurah Putra, secretary to the tourism and the creative economy ministrys tourism marketing director general, said recently.

The number of Chinese tourist arrivals in Bali in January 2014 reached 52,060, a sharp increase of 80.52 percent from 28,839 in January 2013.

Chinese tourists in Bali were the second-largest in number after Australians last year, the Bali tourism office had announced recently.

Last year, a total of 387,533 Chinese tourists visited Bali, up 24.65 percent from 310,904 in 2012.

"China is a potential market for Indonesias tourism industry, with Bali as the main destination," Dewa Nyoman Putra, a Bali tourism observer, said.

In 2013, at least 76 million Chinese people traveled overseas as tourists. This year, the number is expected to increase to 100 million, he explained.

Chinas economic growth, which has been improving rapidly, has encouraged its people to travel abroad. This opportunity should be used optimally by Bali, he pointed out.

He urged the Indonesian government to intensify tourism promotion activities in China to attract more Chinese tourists to visit the country.

"I am glad to hear that the Indonesian flagship airline Garuda Airways recognizes China as a potential market," he added.

In January 2012, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in Bali increased 222.18 percent, from 17,102 in January 2011, to more than 55,090.

Most of these tourists came to Bali on direct flights from China, while only 30 arrived on cruise ships, Head of the Bali Office of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) Gede Suarsa said.

He said he hoped that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Bali will increase in the future due to Chinas robust economic growth and direct flights between China and Bali.

More tourists from East Asia are expected to visit Bali as a result of Dragonairs opening of the round-trip Hong Kong-Denpasar route in April 2014.

Dragonair, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, has planned to launch direct flights to Denpasar, Bali, next April, Cathay Pacific Country Manager in Indonesia Patton Chan said recently.

"Denpasar will become the first destination for Dragonair in Indonesia," Patton Chan told reporters here.

Cathay Pacific, which has served the Hong Kong-Denpasar route for a long time, and Dragonair will continue to serve the Hong Kong-Bali route, operating nine flights per week.

Other airlines currently serving the direct routes of China-Indonesia include Garuda Indonesia, Hong Kong Airlines and Tigerair Mandala.

In January this year, two new foreign airlines, Jetstar Airways and Hainan Airlines, started direct flights to Indonesia.

Hainan Airline, Chinas fourth-largest airline, has launched regular flights, three times a week, between Beijing and Bali as of January 15, 2014.

Bambang Sugiono, a member of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) focusing on serving Chinese tourists, said on Monday the flight will contribute to Chinese tourist arrivals, which is already high.

He estimated that the number of Chinese tourists flying to Bali can be as high as 1,000 per day.

Tourist arrivals in Indonesia have risen dramatically, with a growth of about seven to eight percent per year.

"The arrivals of foreign tourists are increasing every year. Foreign exchange contributed by the tourism sector also rose. It is higher than the national economic growth," Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said recently.

In 2013, a total of 8.8 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia, up 9.2 percent from the previous year. The country received foreign exchange worth US$10.05 billion, an increase of 10.23 percent from that in 2012.

In January 2014, the number of foreign tourists who visited Indonesia surged 22.6 percent to 753,079, from the same period last year, according to Indonesia-investments.com.

The 22.6 percent surge was partly due to the Chinese New Year celebrations at the end of January. Many visitors from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia traveled to Indonesia to celebrate the event.

The tourism ministry target is 9.2 and 9.5 million foreign tourists in Indonesia in 2014, the online media wrote. ***2***
(T.F001/A/KR-BSR/B003) 24-03-2014 17:45:45

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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