Indonesia attracts foreign tourists and investors as economy grows stronger



JAKARTA — Up to 186,000 Saudis have so far visited Indonesia this year and the government hopes to target 217,000 Saudi visitors by year-end and 300,000 next year, said Igde Pitana, the deputy minister of tourism for international marketing in Indonesia.

Speaking to Saudi journalists in Jakarta, he said that they are working on changing the perception about Indonesia in the Middle East in general, and in Saudi Arabia in particular.

Pitana noted that Saudi Arabia is the biggest market for Indonesia in the Middle East, and they seek to attract more tourists. He highlighted that Saudis are the biggest spending tourists and he described them as "quality tourists", with an average Saudi tourist spending $2,226 per trip and stay an average of 10 nights.

The deputy minister said that he is sad that Saudis are aware only of Bali as a tourist destination in his country. He added that their country offers different nature adventures for tourists who want to explore the beaches, waterfalls, mountain areas and farming fields. "Indonesia should be on the top of the mind of every tourist."

Indonesia is also hoping to attract more investors with hopes that it will be the 5th largest economy in the world by 2030. In 2016, Indonesia was ranked number 8 in GDP forecast in purchasing power parity with a value of $3,082 billion. Official figures from the Ministry of Commerce and Information Technology show that the country will have 135 million consuming class by 2030 and 180 million population in productive age by 2030. A large number of infrastructure development projects is also underway.

Starting from 2015, the country started a plan to encourage investors by introducing deregulation, speeding business processes, ease of investment restrictions and simplification of licensing procedures.

According to Asia Business Outlook Survey 2017, 53.7% of investors are willing to increase investments in Indonesia, which makes it the third country in Asia proceeded by China and India.

Among the small Saudi investments in Indonesia visited by Saudi Gazette is Omar restaurant. The place is owned by Omar, a Saudi investor who chose to live in Jakarta s couple of years back. He decided to start his own Arabic food restaurant. The restaurant offers different dishes from the Middle East and various flavors of shisha. The waiters are trained to welcome customers in Arabic and pronounce the names of the dishes. An Arabic music plays in the background gives a flavor of the Middle East. The restaurant is now popular among Arab residents of Jakarta and Arab visitors alike.