The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia totaled 1.35 million or 10.56 percent smaller than in the previous month, the Central Bureau of Statistic (BPS) said here on Thursday.
Head of the BPS Suharyanto said the decline in September is normal as the holiday season had been over and Europe began to enter autumn that month.
The sharpest decline in the number of arrivals was recorded by Tanjung Benoa, Bali, and the number of foreign tourist visiting Tanjung Benoa is not many, Suharyanto.
The second steepest fall was recorded by South Sumatra after the a sharp rise in August thanks to the 2018 Asian Games.
High increase was recorded by Sam Ratulangi, Manado, after the opening of direct flight with China; and by West Kalimantan specially thanks to visits by Malaysian tourists across the border.
Around 67 percent of foreign visitors to Indonesia are by air. The largest numbers came from China, followed by Malaysia, Timor Leste, and Australia.
Foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia increased by 8.11 percent year-on-year and Bali was the main destination (556,000), followed by Jakarta (250,000) and Batam (154,000) in September this year.
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) targets to welcome a total of 20 million foreign tourists in Indonesia in 2019. This is ambitious compared to 11.52 million tourist arrivals in 2015 his first full year presidency.
Hiramsyah Thaib, Team Leader of Acceleration for the Development of Priority Tourism Destination at Indonesia`s Tourism Ministry, said a combined total of US$20 billion worth of investment is needed to turn ten priority destinations into great tourist attractions, equipped with updated infrastructure and plenty of facilities such as hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, parks, and more.
It is estimated that about US$10 billion is needed for infrastructure development – such as roads, ports, airports, and electricity – in the ten priority tourist destinations, while the remaining US$10 billion are needed to build all tourism facilities that are needed by tourists.
Thaib said a couple of priority destinations have already managed to attract a significant amount of investment. For example, Lake Toba in North Sumatra has welcomed a few investors so far.
Currently, several projects are under construction near Lake Toba with a combined value of US$75 million.
Mandalika on the island of Lombok even managed to attract US$977 million worth of investment so far.
However, Mandalika was declared a Special Economic Zone (for agro industry and ecotourism industry), implying investors enjoy fiscal incentives to invest in this area.
Thaib added that investors from several countries have showed interest in projects related to the ten priority tourist destinations.