Makassar (ANTARA News) - The government is optimistic that its foreign tourist arrival target of six million - seven million this year will be achieved, a senior tourism ministry official said.
"We are optimistic the target will be reached considering the enthusiasm of foreign tourists to spend new year`s eve overseas, and Indonesia has become one favorite destination," Fatta Nirwana, d director general of marketing at the Culture and Tourism Ministry, said at the opening of a Tourism Indonesia Mart and Expo (TIME) 2008 at the Celebes Convention Center here Wednesday.
As per August 2008, the number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia had reached four million, compared to 3.6 million during the same period in 2007.
Regarding the year-end moment, he said he was optimistic the country would attract two to three million more foreign tourists bringing the total number of foreign tourist arrivals for the whole year to seven million.
On the tourism potentials of Indonesia`s eastern regions (KTI), he said eastern Indonesia regions such as Tana Toraja in South Sulawesi were already widely known among foreign tourists.
"Tana Toraja has become a brand for South Sulawesi, and is a favorite destination in Indonesia, after Bali," he said.
Meanwhile, head of the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board, Pontjo Sutowo said, Makassar was chosen as venue for TIME 2008 because of its fast development of infrastructure.
The same event in 2006 was also held in the city.
Makassar as a gate to enter KTI has an international airport which serve 23 flights per day, including direct flight from Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia.
As many as 104 buyers from 21 countries and 108 sellers from 16 provinces in Indonesia has confirmed to take part in the event.
"But according to our latest data, there are 80 buyers and 95 sellers," head of the Culture and Tourism Office, Ama Saing said. (*)