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Menos europeos vendrán a Indonesia de vacaciones

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JAKARTA, Indonesia – Despite the government’s optimism about attracting 8 million tourists by the end of 2012, a tourism group says Indonesia may not reach the target as travel agents have seen decr

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Despite the government’s optimism about attracting 8 million tourists by the end of 2012, a tourism group says Indonesia may not reach the target as travel agents have seen decreasing demand from European travelers during the year-end holidays.

“We have been seeing a decreasing demand in hotel bookings and [tour and travel] packages from European tourists since November due to the eurozone crisis, which has hindered [European] tourists from traveling far from their home countries,” Rudiana, vice chairman of the Jakarta branch of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA), said.

“I think it will be hard for us to significantly increase the number of [foreign] tourists in the last month of the year.”

He said that the November-December demand decreased by almost 10 percent from the same period last year.

Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data released on Monday showed that the number of foreign tourist arrivals during the first 10 months of 2012 reached 6.6 million, a 5 percent increase from the same period last year.

In October alone, the figure reached 688,341, up by 4.93 percent from the same period last year.

Indonesia would need to bring in 1.5 million tourists in November and December in order to achieve the 8 million target, while the country might only add around 1.3 to 1.4 million, bringing the total number of foreign arrivals to 7.9 million, Rudiana said.

“[Tourists from] Asia and Australia are not enough to compensate [for the decreasing European tourists] and increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals,” he went on.

Separately, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said that the government remained upbeat about being able to attract 1.5 million tourists within two months because both the government and private sectors were working hard to reach the target.

Mari said that both the government and private sectors had many year-end festivities planned in regions close to neighboring countries Singapore and Malaysia such as in Batam, Riau Islands; Medan, North Sumatra; and Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

In Batam alone, the year-end festivities included a Vegetarian Food Fiesta and a Rhoma Irama concert, the country’s dangdut “king” who had a large fan base in Singapore and Malaysia, she said.

“Adam Lambert and Rod Stewart will also be performing in Indonesia on New Year’s Eve. I’m sure they will attract foreign tourists,” she said.

The BPS monthly data released on Monday showed that the main gateway for tourist arrivals in the country, Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, recorded about 2.3 million visitors during January–October 2012, up by 3.44 percent from last year. The greatest increase in tourist arrivals during the first 10 months of the year was recorded at Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, West Java, which saw 113,690 arrivals, an increase of 23.91 percent from the same period last year.