by Nurul Fitri Ramadhani
JAKARTA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) — Indonesia expects significant tourism recovery in 2023, setting an ambitious goal of attracting up to 7.4 million foreign tourists.
To achieve the target, the Indonesian government will make efforts to improve transportation, making it more available and convenient for tourists.
The country’s top resorts, villas and hotels have said they are ready to welcome tourists from all over the world.
Dirga Pramana, chief executive officer of the Bali-based family hotel management Pramana Experience, told Xinhua on Wednesday that he expected his business to grow at least 30 percent in 2023 compared to 2019.
Pramana said for him, 2020 and 2021 were “very sad years for the tourism business.”
The chief executive officer, who now operates more than 10 family hotels and resorts, and hires no less than 900 employees, has planned to establish more hotels, resorts and villas.
He believed that the tourism business will regain its glory this year.
For years, the Bali Island has dominated the number of arrivals of foreign tourists and become Indonesia’s favorite tourism destination, according to the Statistics Indonesia (BPS).
Head of the Denpasar City Tourism Office in Bali Dezire Mulyani said on Tuesday that the hotel occupancy rate in the resort island could reach 70 percent by the end of 2023, compared to the occupancy rate of around 50 percent last year.
“Moreover, the government has scrapped the lockdown and any social restriction policy, so we believe we can reach the target,” Mulyani said in Bali.
The Indonesian government decided to lift COVID-19-related public activity restrictions nationwide on Dec. 30, 2022, with wearing masks and using tracing apps becoming no longer mandatory.
However, President Joko Widodo said at the end of last year that the health emergency status of COVID-19 is still in place because the pandemic “is not over yet.”
Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has targeted to attract 7.4 million foreign tourists this year. The target doubles the number of foreign tourists that the country recorded in 2022, and if achieved, it will generate foreign exchange value of up to 5.95 billion U.S. dollars.
Indonesian Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno said that Bali is expected to welcome 4 million foreign tourists in 2023.
Indonesia set a goal to attract 3.6 million foreign tourists last year but ended up receiving 5.2 million, according to the ministry.
Uno said on Monday that the country will focus on attracting foreign tourists from the countries that showed increasing trends in tourist arrivals in Indonesia, such as Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. In 2022, those countries led in the number of tourist arrivals, according to the BPS data.
Uno has also said Indonesia is ready to welcome Chinese tourists following China’s optimized COVID-19 strategy.
“An estimated of 253,000 Chinese tourists will land in the country for vacation this year,” Uno said in a weekly press briefing on Monday in Jakarta.
Citing the BPS data, the minister said China had always led in the number of tourist arrivals in the country before the outbreak of the pandemic.
The BPS recorded 2.07 million Chinese tourist arrivals in 2019. However, only 94,924 Chinese tourists visited Indonesia during the January-October period in 2022.
As the next strategy, Uno said, the Indonesian government will further promote Indonesia’s tourism destinations, especially the five Super Priority Tourism Destinations by holding international events.
The five are Lake Toba in North Sumatra province, Borobudur in Central Java province, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara province, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara province, and Likupang in North Sulawesi province.
Indonesia will also speed up the development and promotion of various tourism villages across the country. Indonesia currently has 1,831 tourism villages spreading from east to west that have the potential to be the country’s next tourism icons.