"The arrivals of foreign tourists showed an upward trend from year to year. Foreign exchange contributed by the tourism sector also increased. It is higher than the national economic growth," Tourism and Creative Economic Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said recently.

In 2013, a total of 8.8 million of foreign tourists visited Indonesia, up 9.2 percent from that in the previous year. It received foreign exchange amounted to US$10.05 billion, an increase by 10.23 percent from that in 2012.

There were also 248 million domestic tourists spending Rp154.7 trillion, or double than those spent by foreign tourists last year.

"In 2013, the tourism sector contributed Rp347.35 trillion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or around 3.8 percent of the countrys total GDP," Minister Pangestu said.

The tourism sector provided jobs for 10.8 million people, or 8.89 percent of the total national manpower.

The countrys optimism is more flourishing as the World Economic Forums Global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 showed that Indonesia is ranked 70th, or up four places since the 2011 edition.

"Indonesia is ranked 70th, or up four places from 74th in 2011," the tourism minister said in a talk show recently.

According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2013, Indonesia is ranked 12th in the Asia-Pacific region, right behind India.

In terms of strengths, Indonesia places sixth for its excellent natural resources, with several World Heritage natural sites and the richness of its fauna as measured by the known species in the country.

Indonesia also has rich cultural resources (