Foreign Tourist Arrivals Surpass 1 Million in September, Still Far from the Target

International Tourists Enjoying Sunset in Bali

Indonesia’s post-pandemic tourism recovery is on a positive trajectory, thanks to the government’s proactive measures aimed at boosting tourist inflow. According to the latest report from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) for September 2023, the nation recorded a total of 1,070,025 foreign tourist visits. Although there was a slight dip compared to August, this figure reflects a significant year-on-year increase of 52.76 percent.

The impact of five key nations on foreign tourist arrivals in September 2023 is noteworthy. Malaysia claimed the top spot with 152,510 visitors (14.22 percent), closely followed by Australia with 142,057 visitors (13.09 percent), Singapore with 114,713 visitors (10.75 percent), China with 88,758 visitors (8.29 percent), and Timor-Leste with 57,560 visitors (5.38 percent).

The primary entry points for these tourists were Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali and Soekarno-Hatta Airport, serving as the main gateway.

Vincentius Jemadu, Deputy for Tourism Products and Activity Organizers at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, noted that “Cumulatively, from January to September 2023, there has been an increase of 143.41 percent, totaling 8,513,505.” He shared this information during The Weekly Brief with Sandi Uno on Monday, November 6, 2023, quoted from liputan6.

While the target for foreign tourist arrivals this year has been met, the government maintains an optimistic outlook, aspiring to welcome 10 million foreign tourists by the end of 2023. Regrettably, the target for domestic tourist movements lags significantly behind, with the aim of reaching 1.2 million—a figure that remains below one billion movements.

Domestic tourism witnessed a surge in the third quarter, with 192,052,000 trips, marking a 13.36 percent increase compared to the same period in the previous year. July 2023 registered the highest domestic tourist movements, totaling 7.69 million trips, as it coincided with the school holidays, offering a prime opportunity for travel.

Vincentius further elaborated, “In aggregate, the period from January to September 2023 showed an increase in domestic tourist movements by 12.81 percent compared to the previous year, totaling 626,009 million trips. So, we just need to add a few hundred million more to reach 1 billion movements.”

He expressed hope that domestic tourist movements would continue their upward trajectory until the end of 2023. In response to challenges regarding the increase in tourist numbers, Vincent highlighted that the national tourism sector has not fully recovered, coupled with the fact that the public’s purchasing power has yet to return to its pre-pandemic state. Additionally, there are still many flight routes that haven’t fully resumed regular operations.

Vincentius emphasized that, aside from improving connectivity, event organization stands out as an effective strategy for boosting domestic tourism. In addition, involving local governments in event planning is deemed essential by the central government.

Looking ahead, Vincentius expressed optimism that flight frequencies would return to pre-pandemic levels in the upcoming year. The Indonesian tourism sector is anticipated to make a full recovery from early 2024 to the end of that year, subsequently propelling domestic tourism. Notably, 50 to 55 percent of domestic tourists prefer road trips for their travel adventures.