Jakarta. The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia decreased in the beginning of the year, due to the occurrence of natural disasters, the Central Statistics Agency, or BPS, reported on Thursday (01/03).
Indonesia welcomed 1.04 million foreign tourists, 9.36 percent less than in December, and 6.17 percent less than in the same period last year.
"The decrease on annual basis was due to the decreasing number of visits to Bali, while on monthly basis it was because December is peak season," BPS head Suhariyanto said at a press conference in Jakarta.
"The number of international tourists in Bali, however, shows a sign of recovery," he added.
Bali welcomed 358,065 foreign tourists in January, 11.55 percent more than in December. But it was 24 percent less than in the same period last year.
Mount Agung's eruption in Bali was, according to the statistics agency, the main reason for the government’s failure to fulfill the target of 15 million foreign arrivals in 2017.
Last year, Bali received around 6 million foreign tourists out of 14.04 million foreigners who came to Indonesia.
"Bali is very significant [for tourism]. If something happens there, it will have a lingering effect [on the industry]," Suhariyanto said.
Foreign visitors came mainly from Malaysia (170,984 people), followed by East Timor, China, Australia and Singapore.
The government targets to attract 17 million foreign tourists this year, and expects their visits will generate a revenue of $20.4 billion.