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Destination Indonersia

August 3, 2008

Indonesia: Tourist arrivals up 6.2% in June
Tourist arrivals in Indonesia rose 6.2 percent in June from a year ago, according to government data released on Friday, as growth slowed from previous months, reported Reuters.

For the first half of this year, the number of foreign tourists rose 11.7 percent to 2.9 million, helped by a surge in visitors to the resort island of Bali.

Indonesia's tourism industry was hit by a string of disasters in recent years including tsunamis, bomb attacks in Bali, earthquakes, and outbreaks of bird flu, but has started to show signs of recovery.

The rebound is mainly due to a strong increase in the number of visitors to the predominantly Hindu island of Bali.

"Bali has been great, with hotel occupancy reaching about 85 percent," said Carla Parengkuan, executive director of the Indonesian Hotel Association.

"There have been improvements in areas such as on-time (flight) arrivals and a faster immigration process. But we need to work hard, especially for promotions," she added.

Tourism accounts for about 5 percent of Indonesia's gross domestic product, and the government has targeted this sector for growth.

The US State Department lifted its travel warning for Indonesia in late May, reflecting improved security. Australia lowered travel warnings for two Indonesian provinces in late June.

Bali accounted for about 40 percent of total foreign arrivals last year. Visitor arrivals in Bali rose 17.8 percent to 178,258 in June from a year ago, while the total number of foreign tourists in Indonesia rose to 529,064 that month.

The archipelago, which boasts tourist attractions ranging from rainforests to beaches, volcanoes and ancient temples, is aiming to attract 7 million foreign visitors this year.

Foreign tourist arrivals in Southeast Asia's largest economy climbed to 5.51 million in 2007 from 4.87 million in 2006, but fell short of the government's target of 6 million.

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