Riska Rahman, Jakarta – A total of 15.81 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia throughout 2018, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), falling short of the government's target of attracting 17 million tourists.
However, the figure reflects a 12.58 percent growth in tourist arrivals from 2017 because of a significant surge in vacationers in December, BPS head Suharyanto said on Friday.
"We saw a significant increase in December, particularly during the Christmas and New Year's Eve holiday, when the number of visitors jumped to 1.41 million, or up by 21.43 percent month-to-month," he told reporters at the BPS headquarter in Jakarta.
This year, the government targets to welcome 20 million tourists.
Suharyanto pointed out Indonesian tourism took a severe blow last year because of a string of devastating natural disasters across the country, such as Mount Agung's eruption in Bali, earthquakes in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, the earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Central Sulawesi and another tsunami in Tangung Lesung, Banten.
"Those disasters sparked questions among foreign tourists about whether it's safe to travel to Indonesia," he said. (bbn)