Indonesia has fulfilled its target of attracting 8.6 million foreign tourists in 2013, and plans to increase the number to 9.2 million in the following year.

The growth of overseas arrivals to the country reaches about 7-8 percent annually, according to Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu.

The number of foreign visitors by the year-end is estimated at 8.63 million, far higher than the previous year’s figure of 8.04 million and representing an increase of 7.37 percent, she noted.

Tourists’ average spending amounted to 1,142 USD per person, up 8.17 percent against the 2012 figure, bringing total foreign currency revenues of 9.78 billion USD.

The positive outcome has helped the local tourism sector reach a growth of 5.76 percent in 2013 and earn over 641 trillion Rp (53 billion USD).

Though the number of tourists to Indonesia has increased over the past few years, the growth remains slow when compared to those of other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Pangestu said.

During the crisis in 1998, the tourist arrival targets in ASEAN member states were almost the same. But Indonesia has now lagged far behind, with Malaysia this year targeting to serve 26.8 million visitors, Thailand 25 million, Singapore 15 million, and Indonesia only 8.6 million.-VNA