Jakarta. Tourism Minister Arief Yahya delivered a speech at Indonesia’s 72nd Independence Day ceremony at the Sapta Pesona building in Central Jakarta on Thursday (17/08), calling for a revamp of the nation's tourism industry as a means to bolster the welfare of Indonesians.
According to Arief, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has called tourism one of the leading sectors most crucial to national development.
"With the president’s commitment, all ministries and agencies must assist the establishment of our tourism infrastructure, particularly at our top 10 priority destinations," Arief added, referring to the Ministry of Tourism's focus on building tourism facilities at 10 destinations across the archipelago.
Jokowi expects the Tourism Ministry to attract up to 20 million foreign tourists and 270 million local tourists to various destinations in the country by 2019.
In the first half of 2017, Indonesia's foreign tourism sector grew by 22.4 percent, putting the country on the United Nations World Tourism Organization's top 20 fastest growing travel destinations.
Vietnam is the only other Southeast Asian country on the UNWTO list with a faster-growing tourism sector, which reached a growth rate of 24 percent in the same period.
Arief said Indonesia must deregulate and ease access to the country, similar to Vietnam, if Indonesia wants to compete in the global market.
"The key [to success] is easy. Ease access for the people who want to visit Indonesia. Ease the regulations for those who want to invest in Indonesia," Arief added.