Indonesia

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Indonesia

Both nature and culture are major components of Indonesian tourism. The natural heritage can boast a unique combination of a tropical climate, a vast archipelago of 17,508 islands, 6,000 of them being inhabited, the third longest shoreline in the world (54,716 km) after Canada and the European Union. It is the worlds largest and most populous country situated only on islands. The beaches in Bali, diving sites in Bunaken, Mount Bromo in East Java, Lake Toba and various national parks in Sumatra are just a few examples of popular scenic destinations. These natural attractions are complemented by a rich cultural heritage that reflects Indonesia's dynamic history and ethnic diversity. One fact that exemplifies this richness is that 719 living languages are used across the archipelago.The ancient Prambanan and Borobudur temples, Toraja, Yogyakarta, Minangkabau, and of course Bali, with its many Hindu festivities, are some of the popular destinations for cultural tourism.

Tourism in Indonesia is currently overseen by the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism. International tourism campaigns have been focusing largely on its tropical destinations with white sand beaches, blue sky, and cultural attractions. Beach resorts and hotels have been developed in some popular tourist destinations, especially Bali island as the primary destination. At the same time, the integration of cultural affairs and tourism under the scope of the same ministry shows that cultural tourism is considered an integral part of Indonesia's tourism industry, and conversely, that tourism is used to promote and preserve the cultural heritage.

Some of the challenges Indonesia's tourism industry has to face include the development of infrastructure to support tourism across the sprawling archipelago, incursions of the industry into local traditions (adat), and the impact of tourism development on the life of local people. The tourism industry in Indonesia has also faced setbacks due to problems related to security. Since 2002, warnings have been issued by some countries over terrorist threats and ethnic as well as religious conflicts in some areas, significantly reducing the number of foreign visitors for a few years. However, the number of international tourists has bounced back positively since 2007, and reached a new record in 2008 and then made a new record every year and in 2012 set at 8,044,462 foreign tourists.

In 2013, based on World Economic Forum survey, Indonesia got Tourism Competitiveness Index score 4.0 and rank at number 70 (up from number 74 in 2011 and number 81 in 2009) from 140 countries. Aspects that need to be improved in order to move up the rank ladder are; tourism and ICT infrastructures, health and hygiene, environmental sustainability, and affinity for travel and tourism.

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