Indonesia sees rise in visits from China, eyes further tourism development
Published: Nov 24, 2023 01:44 AM
Ijen volcano in Indonesia attracts numerous tourists on August 17, 2023 Photo: VCG

Ijen volcano in Indonesia attracts numerous tourists on August 17, 2023 Photo: VCG

From January to September, Indonesia received 570,000 trips from China, more than double the target of 200,000, Nia Niscaya, an expert with the country's Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, said on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with the Global Times. Next year, the target will be almost back to the same level as before the pandemic, she said.

Niscaya made the remarks during a trip to China to attend the Belt and Road Global Chambers of Commerce and Associations Conference (GCCAC), which was held in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian Province on Wednesday.

The bilateral ties between China and Indonesia have been enhanced over the past few years, especially in the tourism sector, Niscaya said in her speech during the opening ceremony of the GCCAC.

Indonesia regards China as a strategic partner, and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) made China one of Indonesia's top three sources of investment. China is also the largest source of visitors for Indonesia's tourist market, Niscaya noted.

Having survived the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the right time to renew cooperation with China, she said.

Indonesia has provided policy support for visas for 86 countries including China, Niscaya continued.

She told the Global Times that about 60 percent of Chinese tourists choose to travel to Bali, but the country has more than 17,000 islands, so Chinese consumers can have different experiences in other places such as Manado, capital city of the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi, which is rich in marine activities such as diving.

In order to ensure safety for Chinese people travelling to Indonesia, Niscaya noted that the government has put necessary measures in place to enhance security. And the country provides services in Putonghua, in order to make Chinese tourists more comfortable.

In terms of flights, Niscaya said the country is still behind the pre-pandemic level. She has coordinated with the Ministry of Transportation of Indonesia to offer more flights connecting with China and to improve infrastructure construction at airports.

"We are very pleased to have more connections [with China] because Indonesian people also love to visit China. We have direct flights to Fuzhou by Xiamen Airlines, so it makes it easier for people from both countries to visit each other," Niscaya noted.

The expert also hailed the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, which is part of the BRI cooperation process. The operation of the high-speed railway not only greatly facilitates local transportation, but has also made Bandung more popular with tourists from China and other countries and regions.

"The BRI provides a platform to collaborate and coordinate," Niscaya said, noting that the two countries can enhance cooperation in electric cars and the digital economy.