"Jakarta, GIVnews.com – During his official visit to Shanghai in August this year, Indonesian Deputy Minister for Tourism I Gde Pitana disclosed his country’s two-million target of tourist arrivals from China in 2015.

“My country is one of the most worth-visiting countries in the world in terms of natural beauty and cultural diversity. If you want to experience local culture and folk customs, come between June and August,” Pitana then told China’s Global Times tabloid.

Pitana made his remarks when attending the launching of a book entitled Discover Indonesia in Indonesia. It was written by Dou Yunyun, CCTV’s first-ever foreign correspondent in Indonesia. The book launching ceremony took place during the 2015 Shanghai Book Fair.

According to Pitana, Chinese tourist arrivals in Indonesia reached one million in 2014. This compared with Indonesia’s Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) data that they were 883,725 people in the January-November period of 2014.  In 2014, the number of Singaporeans visiting Indonesia ranked first with 1.32 million arrivals. Malaysian and Australian visitors came in second and third, respectively.

Indonesia received a total of 9.44 million foreign tourists in 2014. It set a target of 10.5 million for this year.

Then, can the two-million target for Chinese tourist visits be achieved? Nobody can answer this question in advance, even Pitana himself.  People can only say that Chinese people largely remain unaware of Indonesia, which is a sizable country with the world’s fourth-largest population and the largest number of Muslims, Doun Yunyun wrote in Discover Indonesia in Indonesia.

Perhaps, a group of Chinese journalists, who were scheduled to leave Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport for Shanghai on Sunday night (18/10), could give some answer to the question about the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in Indonesia this year.

The journalists had toured Bali in the past week, at the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia, according to Detik.com. They included Global Times’ Huang Lanlan who had interviewed Pitana during the 2015 Shanghai Book Fair in August. Their visit coincided with this year’s 65th anniversary of diplomatic relation between Indonesia and China.

While in Bali, the Chinese journalists visited a number of tourist attractions. On Sunday, the last day of their stay on the island of gods and goddesses, they visited Tanah Lot, an iconic rock formation off Bali and home to the pilgrimage temple called Pura Tanah Lot.

At Tanah Lot the journalist found relatively high number of Chinese tourists, young and old. Tanah Lot had reportedly impressed these journalists.

“I had watched Tanah Lot via the website, but seeing it directly today, wow! It is beyond my imagination,” said Betty alias Pan Yinru from Chinese Business Network (CBN). She said Tanah Lot is very popular in China.

Earlier on Sunday the Chinese guests visited other places in Bali including Sahadewa in Gianyar where they watched Barong Dance. Huang Lanlan admitted that the dance was so captivating and that, although she did not understand the language used, she could still guess what it was telling about – the war between the good and the bad.

As the Chinese journalists were so impressed by what they saw in Bali, Pitana and many other Indonesians may expect that their would-be stories about Bali and Indonesia will prompt more of their fellow countrymen to come to Indonesia in the coming months and years."

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