Jakarta. The tourism sector in North Sulawesi is developing rapidly at the moment with foreign tourist arrivals having surged by 449 percent in May compared to a year ago.
The Ministry of Tourism is pushing for the province, especially the capital Manado, to become a favorite tourism destination in Indonesia.
Based on Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data, visitors are mostly from China, Germany and Singapore.
"Of the foreign tourists who visited North Sulawesi in May this year, 4,396 [or 78.65 percent] were from China, followed by 176 [3.15 percent] from Singapore and 138 [2.47 percent] from Germany," BPS North Sulawesi head of statistics and distribution Marthedy Tenggehi said in a statement on Tuesday (11/07).
There were also visitors from the United States (1.90 percent), Britain (1.56 percent), Hong Kong (1.32 percent) and a few other countries.
Marthedy said there was a significant increase in visitors arriving at Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado.
"The rise in tourist arrivals is the result of various direct flights to Manado. A breakthrough by North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey and promotions by the Tourism Ministry helped boost foreign arrivals in North Sulawesi by more than 100 percent every month," he said.
"Tourists come for the maritime attractions. Most are interested in exploring Bunaken, Lake Tondano and Lake Linow. There are also those favoring cultural tourism and city tours because they love to shop in Mantos, or visit the Jesus Christ statue in Citraland, explore Chinatown and stroll along the Boulevard area," Marthedy said.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya lauded the achievement and said he wanted to establish the region – named the "Coral Reef Capital of the World" by the World Coral Reef Conference – as the tourism hub for the Asia-Pacific market.