Talking to China news agency Xinhua, Indonesia expects the arrivals of holiday makers from China to jump this year as it has offered special historical destinations, boosted supportive policy and stepped up promotion.
China and Indonesia, the two largest economies in Asia and Southeast Asia respectively, have strong historical background which has become one of the main engines for the tourism industries in both countries, said Deputy for Overseas Promotion of the Indonesian Tourism Ministry I Gde Pitana. “This year we expect 2.1 million Chinese holiday makers visiting Indonesia, compared with last year’s target of 1.3 million arrivals,” he said during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
That is a big part of the country’s 12 million foreign tourist arrivals target this year, after witnessing over 10 million last year, according to the ministry.
Pitana explained the significant hike of the target of Chinese tourist arrivals this year is based on the country’s great tourism promotion, offer of some historical cultural destinations and events, and new visa on arrival policy which took effect in June 2015, as well as the special event of total solar eclipse that will be visible from parts of Indonesia.
Indonesia has strong confidence in offering attractive destinations and services, and sees China as a huge potential market for its tourism industry, he said, adding that the Indonesian tourism ministry believes that collaboration of the two sides will be mutually beneficial, he said.
“China is the main market for us. In 2016, it will be the biggest market, defeating Singapore, Australia and Malaysia,” said Pitana. Over 118 million Chinese people travel annually, but so far only a small number of them is tapped by the Southeast Asian region – 6 million by Thailand, 2 million by Singapore and 1.3 million by Indonesia, the official said.
Since September last year, Indonesia has prepared for the arrivals of Chinese holiday makers, particularly for the celebration of the Lunar New Year or locally known as Imlek in February, he said.
“For the preparations of the Imlek, we have cooperated with all stakeholders and made preparations in several provinces, including how to organize celebrations for welcoming Chinese visitor fiends.”
After Imlek comes the total solar eclipse in the tropical country on March 9, when thousands of foreign visitors, including tourists and scientists, will flock to Indonesia, from eastern parts to western parts of the country, said Pitana.
“There will be 10 cities to witness the eclipse which happens once in hundreds of years. The longest period is six minutes in Sulawesi Island. Please come to the cities as preparation has been made to welcome visitors to experience the rare event, including the facility at sea,” he said, referring to the eastern parts of the country.
The event will be centered in Bangka Belitung Island in western parts of the country with a parade of over 100 yachts and a duplicate of the legendary ship from Indonesia’s prominent kingdom of Majapahit, according to the tourism ministry.
Besides, Indonesia also has several destinations linked with the famous Chinese explorer, Zheng He who made seven expeditions in the 15th century that sailed to present day Indonesia and many other countries, the official said.
“We have a celebration of journey of Commodore Cheng Ho (Zheng He) every year, link to the Silk road in China,” Pitana added.