The prestigious Indonesian Digest published by Wuryastuti Sunario from Jakarta reports:
"During the first four months of 2007, from January through April, Indonesia received 1.37 million tourists through 15 gateways, or up a significant 12.78% compared to the same period last year, said Rusman, Head of the National Statistical Bureau, reported Bisnis Indonesia.
Best performance was turned in by Bali. The island received a total of 472,082 visitors, up a hefty 38.38% when compared to the first four months last year, reported balidiscovery.com. In April, 131,034 tourists came to Indonesia through Bali, 98,101 through Jakarta, and 85,951 through Batam.
Although arrival figures are on the increase nation-wide, averaging 300,000 visitors per month, this will bring total arrivals this year to around 4.2 million, still far below the national target of 6 million for 2007. To reach the expected target, Indonesia must receive an average 500,000 tourists per month, said Ben Sukma, Chairman of the Association of the Indonesia Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA).
Despite the fact that arrivals from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China are recovering, Indonesia's important markets from Europe and Australia are still lagging behind. The Europe market that used to make Indonesia one of its more popular holiday destinations has dropped after Garuda Indonesia stopped flying to Europe.
The drop in the number of European tourists who used to stay in Indonesia for two months, visiting many off-the-beaten track destinations, have caused tourism in many regions to suffer greatly during the past years. The resort areas include the Toraja highlands of South Sulawesi, North Sumatra's Lake Toba region, Nias Island, Lombok and East Nusatenggara, the Moluccas and Papua. While the trans-Java overland tour, once popular with European tourists, that included visits to Bandung, Wonosobo, Yogyakarta, Solo, Malang and on to Bali have also dropped due to a lack of participants."
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