TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the tourism sector continues to record achievements with the highest growth, ranking ninth in the world, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
"It was announced by WTTC that Indonesia is the country with the highest growth in tourism, which is number nine in the world," he noted.
During a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday to evaluate the work of the government led by Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla after four years, Yahya explained that Indonesia`s tourism growth from January-December 2017 reached 22 percent.
This growth rate is far above the average world tourist growth of 6.4 percent, as well as the growth of tourists in ASEAN of 7 percent.
Arief admitted that neighboring countries, such as Vietnam, also grew by over 29 percent, which was due to much deregulation.
On the other hand, Indonesia`s tourism growth is far higher than Malaysia, which grew by only 4 percent, Singapore at 5.8 percent and Thailand at 8.7 percent.
Due to the work of the Jokowi-JK administration, Arief stressed that tourism could become the largest foreign exchange earning sector, as even now it is the fourth largest national foreign exchange contributor, after palm oil (CPO), oil and gas and mining (coal).
The tourism sector`s contribution to foreign exchange has also increased from US$12.2 billion in 2015 to US$15 billion in 2017.
This year, the sector is expected to see foreign exchange increase to US$17 billion, as well as the 2019 projection of US$ 20 billion.
Based upon Ministry of Tourism data, the number of foreign tourist visits continued to soar from 2015 by as much as 9.7 million, in 2016 to 11.5 million, and in 2017 to 14 million.
As of August 2018, the number of foreign tourist arrivals has reached 10.58 million, with a target of 17 million foreign tourists for the year.
Domestic travelers` visits also looked encouraging, from 255 million in 2015 to 271 million in 2017.