The Jakarta Post
The economic slowdown may result in more visitors to Indonesia, a recent study from Visa shows, as budget-conscious tourists look for trips that do not break the bank.
Visa announced on Thursday that overseas travelers favored the archipelago for its affordability, with 48 percent of respondents saying Indonesia offered 'good value for money' and 41 percent saying that trips to the country 'fit my budget'.
The weather, preferred by 36 percent of respondents, was deemed a bonus by budget holiday hunters as it ranked third in the study's top reasons to visit Indonesia.
The study said that tourists spent an average of US$1,634 per visit to Indonesia, which is only half of the global tourist average of $2,930.
Out of the total budget, overseas tourists spend 30 percent of their money on shopping and 25 percent on dining. The rest of their money is spent on leisure activities (11 percent), local transportation (7 percent) and domestic flights (4 percent).
PT Visa Worldwide Indonesia president director Ellyana Fuad said that although the majority of inbound tourists were budget-conscious, they did not seem to hesitate when shelling out more to stay at luxurious hotels, with 42 percent saying they preferred to stay at hotels or resorts that were 'four-star and above,' while only 27 percent said 'three-star and below'.
'As most tourists visiting Indonesia come from short- to mid-range countries, geographically speaking they tend to travel using low-cost carriers and spend more on luxurious hotels,' Ellyana explained to a press conference on Thursday.
'Respondents said that our four-star hotels offer excellent service at a reasonable price compared to hotels in other countries. Thats what makes Indonesia a decent holiday destination with good value for money.'
Ellyana said that Indonesia should exploit the fact that the currency was weakening and attract more visitors, as well as acknowledging tourism's potential to develop the country's economy and infrastructure.
Data shows that tourism contributed 5 percent to Indonesia's gross domestic product (GDP) and created jobs for 8 million people in 2012.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said that she was happy with the results of the survey, saying it showed that tourism still had the capacity to grow amid the economic uncertainty, adding that 'the weakening rupiah may attract more visitors [enabling us to] reach our target to net $10 billion in foreign exchange from tourism', Mari said.
Tourism contributed $9.1 billion to the country's income in 2012, up 5.81 percent compared to 2011. The government aims to attract 8.6 million foreign tourists this year compared to last year's 8.04 million.