Foreign tourist arrivals in first quarter 2007 up 12 pct

Jakarta (Antara News) - The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia during the first quarter in 2007 reached 989,492 or up by 12.65 percent compared to that in the same period last year, an official said.

Of the overall first-quarter figure, 363,686 were tourist arrivals in Bali which thereby recorded the highest figure of foreign tourist arrivals for the past 10 years, Thamrin B Bahri, marketing affairs director general at the Culture and Tourism Ministry, said here Friday.

Giving a month-by-month breakdown of the overaall quarterly figure, Thamrin said the figure in January alone reached 317,648 or up by 6.94 percent from last year, in February 322,289 or up by 21.00 percent and in March 349,555 or up by 10.98 percent.

"Considering the increases in the number of tourist arrivals in the first quarter, we are confident the target of six million tourist arrivals in 2007 will be achieved," Thamrin said.

Thamrin said his ministry had recently opened five tourism promotion offices abroad in the form of "branded offices", meaning that promotion activities are handled by professional, private foreign marketing agents.

Thereby it was no longer necessary for the ministry to set up National Tourism Offices manned by its own officers abroad due to the limited amount of the available budget funds. The ministry could now suffice by hiring foreign private marketing agents to do the promotions.

"It is expected that Indonesia this year will have 12 overseas tourist promotion offices," the official said, adding that previously the ministry had established seven overseas tourist promotion offices, namely in Japan, China, Australia, Germany and India, all in the form of "branded offices".

The ministry was also exploring the possibility of opening tourist promotion branded offices in Malaysia and Singapore.

Thamrin said the amount of funds that used to be needed to maintain national tourism offices abroad was Rp27 billion per year among others for renting office buildings, salaries and promotion materials.

But maintaining the overseas tourism branded offices now only required Rp4-5 billion per year, he said.(*)
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