This topic has been covered here before, but it’s worth repeating for the time being: Indonesia is “not maximally exploiting” its tourism potential, says the Chair of the Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association (IHRA), Yanti B Sukamdani.

She drew comparisons with Malaysia, which saw 22.5 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2008, compared to Indonesia’s 6.4 million. Yet as recently as 15 years ago, Malaysia’s total was far below Indonesia’s. Perhaps a lack of synchronization between the central government’s tourism policies and regional authorities could be to blame, she said.

Indonesia definitely does not lack beautiful locations, prices are relatively low, and the number of tourists traveling from other parts of Asia (especially China) has been booming recently.

Meanwhile, one country that does promote its tourist potential mercilessly is Australia, which has launched a new Indonesian language version of its Australia.com website in the hope of attracting more of its northern neighbors Down Under. Australia is already popular with both holiday and casual travelers from Indonesia, with 114,500 arriving in the year ending 31 March 2010 (a 24% increase on the previous year).

Source: Antara