Sat, 03 Apr 2004

Tourist arrivals down 10.27% in February

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country fell by 10.27 percent in February compared with the previous month after the government implemented a new restrictive visa-on-arrival policy during the month.

The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) reported on Thursday that foreign tourist arrivals in February reached 321,576, compared with 358,369 in January.

The BPS said that the visa-on-arrival policy had little impact on the tourist sector, pointing out that cumulative foreign tourist arrivals in the January to February period increased by 11 percent to around 680,000 compared with the same period last year.

The agency did not explain the main reason for the February decline, but a number of industry experts had previously warned that the new visa policy, combined with rising political tension ahead of this year's general elections, would reduce foreign visitor arrivals.

The tourist sector has been a major contributor to the development of the country's economy. This year, the government expects foreign tourist arrivals to reach 5 million, higher than the 4.4 million last year.

Elsewhere, BPS said that the number of foreign tourist arrivals at the popular destination, Bali, in February declined by 18.52 percent to around 89,300 from around 110,000 in January.

The BPS also reported that the hotel occupancy rate at the country's 10 major tourist destinations averaged 43.31 percent in January, or a 2.8 percent decline from the 45.99 percent in December last year.

The agency said that the average length of stay of foreign tourists in the country during the month of January was 2.04 days, compared with 1.99 days in December.