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Indonesia surges in global tourism

JAKARTA (ANN/THE JAKARTA POST) – Indonesia is rapidly enhancing its competitive edge in the realm of travel and tourism, as evidenced by its remarkable ascent in the latest Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI) by the World Economic Forum. 

The report, unveiled on Tuesday, places Indonesia at the 22nd spot globally, showcasing a notable leap of 14 positions since the last assessment in 2019, thereby marking the most significant advancement among its regional counterparts. 

Surpassing countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and even the renowned tourism hub Thailand, Indonesia’s substantial progress is undeniable. 

With an impressive overall index score of 4.46 on a scale of 7, where 1 represents the lowest and 7 the highest, Indonesia emerges as the leading destination in the region, excluding Singapore, and surpasses emerging-market contenders like Brazil and India, as highlighted in the report.

The TTDI evaluated 119 countries and regions based on factors and policies contributing to a sustainable and resilient development of the travel and tourism sector.

The United States retained its top position, while China, the world’s second-largest economy, climbed a notch higher to eighth place in the ranking.

The global recovery of tourism from the coronavirus pandemic, however, remains uneven. While 71 of the 119 ranked economies improved their scores when compared with 2019, the average index score is just 0.7 percent above pre-pandemic levels, the report shows.

Low to upper-middle-income economies accounted for 52 of the 71 economies that improved their TTDI scores since 2019.

Boats lie at anchor in an Indonesian port in this undated photograph. Indonesia’s leap highlights the country’s commitment to developing its tourism sector, as reflected in its resources dimension score reaching a high 6.03. PHOTO: ANN/THE JAKARTA POST

Indonesia’s leap highlights the country’s commitment to developing its tourism sector, as reflected in its resources dimension score reaching a high 6.03.

At the same time, Indonesia also boasts a competitive edge with a score of 5.44 for price competitiveness.

Accordingly, Southeast Asia led the pack in terms of improvement for the air service agreements indicator since 2019, the report notes.

Agreements like the ASEAN-EU Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA) and the ASEAN Single Aviation Market are expected to significantly boost both intra-regional and international aviation in the region.

Indonesia’s improvement notwithstanding, the report highlights the need for further investment across developing economies.

Scoring high in price competitiveness, emerging economies lag behind in crucial areas like transportation, tourism and information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and enabling environments that foster conducive business conditions.

Indonesia’s score in openness to travel and tourism sits at a middling 3.83, and the score for non-leisure travel resources, such as business and medical tourism, is 3.06, indicating room for improvement.

In February, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno admitted that Indonesia had been losing foreign tourists to neighbouring countries, citing inconvenient visa requirements and limited connectivity between Indonesian islands.

The global tourism sector is expected to recover from the lows of the COVID-19 pandemic and surpass the levels seen before the crisis.

This is largely being driven by a significant increase in demand worldwide, which has coincided with more available flights, better international openness, as well as increased interest and investment in natural and cultural attractions.