Indonesia's foreign tourist arrivals climb

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JAKARTA, Nov 2 (Reuters) The number of foreign tourists visiting Indonesia rose 13.5 per cent in the first nine months of 2007 from a year ago, led by higher arrivals at the key resort island of Bali, government data showed. Arrivals increased to 382,461 in September, up 13.9 per cent from a year ago, taking the total number of foreign tourist arrivals in the first nine months to 3.36 million, up from 2.96 million a year ago, according to data from the statistics bureau.

Tourist arrivals in Bali rose to 159,610 in September, up 28.2 percent from a year ago, taking the total number of foreign tourist arrivals to the resort island for the first nine months to 1.29 million, up from 962,211 in the same period a year ago.

Indonesia expects foreign tourist arrivals to increase by 25 per cent to 6 million this year, bringing in around 5.5 billion dollars in foreign exchange earnings, up 22 per cent from a year ago.

Indonesia boasts a wide array of tourist attractions ranging from beaches and volcanoes to ancient temples and exotic culture.

But its tourism industry, which accounts for around 5 per cent of GDP, has been shaken by a string of disasters in recent years including tsunamis, outbreaks of bird flu, and bomb attacks on the island of Bali, which unlike predominantly Muslim Indonesia is mainly Hindu.

Bali's tourism industry is now bouncing back from the bomb attacks which killed 20 people in 2005, and more than 200 in 2002.

Reuters SZ DB0934

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