TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Tourism Minister Arief Yahya’s plan to exempt Japanese and Chinese tourists from visa has received a warm welcome from hotel entrepreneurs. Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association’s (PHRI) foreign relations chairman Jon A. Masli said hotel industry was estimated to grow by at least 20 percent in 2015.
“During President SBY’s area, the hotel industry could only grow 11 percent. If this policy is realized, I believe the growth will be fast,” Jon told Tempo on Sunday, November 24, 2014.
Jon added the number of Chinese tourists visiting Indonesia annually hovered around 700,000-800,000. If the visa exemption policy took effect in early 2015, he explained, it was estimated that the figure would hit 1.5-2 million.
Jon said foreign exchange in the hospitality sector would be up by US$13 billion if the number of tourists grew—under the assumption that Chinese tourists spend US$300-500 when staying for five nights.
According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), Chinese tourists sit second on the list of Asia-Pacific tourists visiting Indonesia every year, after Australia. Jon said he was upbeat China would ascend on the list and become the biggest tourist supplier for Indonesia after the visa exemption was effective.
Previously, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the Indonesian government had been in talks with China and Japan for a possible visa-free policy for tourists. China and Japan were chosen as both boasted the largest economic growth in the world.