With more Chinese travelers turning to Indonesia for their vacation, China is set to overtake Singapore as Indonesia’s biggest market this year. The Indonesian government wants more and hopes that developing 10 new tourist regions similar to Bali will help.
“All over the world they are trying to catch the Chinese market,” Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said in an interview in Jakarta, as quoted by Bloomberg. “For sure, the easiest way to increase the number of tourists is to target China.”
Indonesia has witnessed a 46 percent surge of Chinese travelers to 1.4 million in the first eight months of 2017. While the increase is impressive, it only accounts for about one percent of the more than 120 million Chinese who travel abroad each year.
The government is aiming to double that by targeting advertising in key locations in China, which Yahya described as a goldmine that’s set to bring in billions of dollars. Among the tourism destinations promoted in the world’s second-largest economy is President Joko Widodo’s plan to build 10 new Bali-style tourist regions.
The Tourism Ministry’s priority destination projects are built to emulate Bali’s popularity with foreign tourists. The destinations encompass: Toba Lake (North Sumatera), Tanjung Kelayang (Bangka Belitung), Tanjung Lesung (Banten), Seribu Islands (Jakarta), Borobudur Temple (Central Jawa), Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru (East Jawa), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara), Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Wakatobi (Sulawesi Tenggara), and Morotai (North Maluku).
While the plan is a promising proposition, it will present a big challenge for the government, especially in funding. Yahya estimates the industry needs US$20 billion of investment over five years, of which about only US$10 billion will come from the government.