The Jakarta Post
Bali has exceeded its target of attracting 3.1 million foreign tourists last year, as the number of direct foreign tourist arrivals to the island reached 3.27 million.
The provincial Tourism Agency on Wednesday released the official data on the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali from January to December 2013, which amounted to 3,278,697 people.
The figure was an increase of 13.37 percent from the total number of direct foreign tourist arrivals in 2012, which reached 2,892,019.
'It surpassed our target of 3.1 million. The percentage achievement reached 103 percent,' said agency head Ida Bagus Kade Subhiksu, confirming the data.
He highlighted that the overall performance for tourism last year was very progressive, thanks to efforts to improve infrastructure and other supporting factors.
The data showed that the highest arrival numbers throughout the year were in August, reaching 309,219 people, followed by September with 305,629 people.
All the major contributing countries showed positive growth, with the top 10 being Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, France, the UK and the US.
Australia remains at the top, contributing 25.2 percent, or 826,388 visitors, to the total arrivals, followed by China in second place with 387,533 visitors, a share of 11.82 percent from total arrivals.
India, despite its small contribution of 1.97 percent, showed the highest increase of visitors from the previous year, rising by 38.49 percent from 46,632 people in 2012 to 64,579 people last year.
Despite this, India had yet to be a main target for promotions by the government and tourism businesses, said Bagus Sudibya, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI) Bali.
'The promotions are still very limited, with only a few travel agents that have started to put India on their lists,' he said, adding that the absence of direct flights connecting India and Indonesia was a major barrier.
According to Bagus, Indian tourists could contribute significantly to Bali's tourism, as they were big spenders and usually preferred to stay at luxury hotels.
GIPI chairman Ngurah Wijaya shared similar views about India as a new emerging market for Bali, as the country was enjoying robust economic growth.