The Jakarta Post
A traditional fishing boat lies on Sengigi beach in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. (Shutterstock/-)
Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara is becoming more popular with foreign tourists, according to the latest report by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).
More than 7,300 foreigners traveled to the region in March, up 22.52 percent over to the same month last year, marking the fastest growth in tourism arrivals among all destinations in the country.
During the first three months of 2016, the statisticians recorded 18,702 foreign tourist arrivals through Lombok International Airport.
"In January to March, Indonesia recorded 2.54 million foreign tourist visits, up 4.66 percent compared to the same period last year," BPS head Suryamin told a press conference in Jakarta on Monday.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration has proclaimed a target of attracting an annual 20 million foreign tourists by the end of his tenure in 2019. For this year, meanwhile, the expectation is for 12 million visitors.
To boost tourism in the archipelago, the government has designated 10 emerging tourist destinations, namely Lombok, Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Tanjung Lesung in Banten, Thousand Islands in Jakarta, the Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Mount Bromo in East Java, Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Wakatobi in Papua and Morotai in Maluku.
The government has also issued a free-visa policy for 90 countries to increase the number of foreign tourists to Indonesia. Up to 84 more countries, including Australia and Brazil, will reportedly be added to the list soon. (kes)