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Indonesia Targets 6.8 Million Tourists for 2009

Indonesian Arrivals and Promotional Budgets Continue to Lag Behind Competing Destinations in the Region.

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Indonesia is targeting 6.8 million foreign tourist visitors in 2009 with tourism officials insisting that the tourism sector will remain the "prima donna" of the nation's foreign exchange generators.

The Director General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Nirwandar, told, "Even more so in the middle of the global economic crisis which is also affecting Indonesia, we hope the contribution from tourism will help speed the recovery of the national economy."

The central government has budgeted a total promotional budget of Rp. 289 billion (US$ 26 million) from a total departmental budget of Rp. 1.1 trillion (US$99 million) to achieve an approximate 10% increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2009.

Is the Promotional Budget Enough?

Diplomatically fielding questions regarding the sufficiency of the funding allocated for tourism promotion, Sapta referred to the World Tourism Organizations' yardstick of US$10 for every foreign tourist arrival. By that standard, Indonesia should be spending US$ 100 million in order to achieve its stated target for 2009.

Reflecting the current world economic crisis, Indonesia has lowered its target of 8 million tourist in 2009 to only 6.8 million. The Department of Culture and Tourism had originally asked for Rp. 340 billion (US$30.6 million) in promotional funding, resigning itself to the final figure of only Rp. 289 billion (US$26 million). According to the Secretary General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Wariyatmo, the money allocated for tourism promotion in Indonesia is still miniscule in comparison to competing destinations, such as Malaysia, which spent US$100 million to attract tourists in 2008.

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