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Bali eruptions fail to shake Indonesia tourism growth

President Widodo's backing for sector spurs 22% jump in foreign arrivals

The Raja Ampat islands, a diver's paradise in West Papua province, is one of the "10 new Balis" that Indonesia is preparing to boost its tourism sector. (Photo by Erwida Maulia)

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's increasingly assertive tourism campaign is finally bearing fruit, with a 22% jump in its foreign tourist arrivals last year -- despite sharp declines in visits to the popular resort island Bali as a result of volcanic eruptions.

The Central Statistics Agency, or BPS, on Thursday said the prolonged volcanic activity in Bali, Indonesia's top tourist destination, had caused the country to miss its target of 15 million foreign tourists in 2017. Authorities have retained their highest alert status on Bali's Mount Agung since September, although the no-entry danger zone has been reduced and airports on the island-province and nearby islands have resumed normal operations following a brief closure last year.

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