INDONESIA - Indonesia's weak currency does not seem to be stopping people from having a good time and going on vacation, particularly to neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia, for the year-end holidays.
The immigration office in Batam, Riau Islands, has been witnessing a sharp increase in the number of Indonesians crossing to Singapore for holidays ahead of the New Year's Eve celebration.
Batam Immigration Office head Yudi Kurniadi told The Jakarta Post that the number of people crossing to Singapore and Malaysia from Batam had since Dec. 22 increased by up to 300 per cent from the usual number of 2,000 to 3,000 per day.
"Most of them are going for Christmas, school and New Year holidays," said Yudi, adding that Indonesians leaving for Singapore mostly came from outside Batam. They, he went on, are interested in a ferry tour package worth Rp 300,000 (S$31) per person for a return trip to Singapore.
In Yogyakarta, hundreds of hotels and motels are fully booked ahead of New Year's Eve, while transportation operators are increasing their seating capacities.
The hotel occupancy rate in Yogyakarta reached 95 per cent on Sunday. There are 41 starred hotels with 4,115 rooms and 425 motels offering 7,300 rooms in the region.
All hotels along Jl. Malioboro, however, have reached an occupancy rate of 100 per cent.
"I'm sure that on Tuesday all the hotels will have an occupancy rate of 100 per cent," secretary of Yogyakarta chapter of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) Deddy Pranowo Eryono said on Sunday.
Low-cost carrier Citilink Indonesia has increased the number of flights serving Adisucipto International Airport in Sleman regency, just outside Yogyakarta city.
"Our load factor for Yogyakarta is 95 per cent, higher than the national average of 90 per cent," said Citilink vice president of sales and distribution Agung Dewanta.
State train operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia's Operation Region 6/Yogyakarta is also adding more trains to and from Yogyakarta during the holiday season.
Hotels in Senggigi Beach area in West Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) are also enjoying good business for this New Year holiday.
As of Saturday, the occupancy rate of tourist accommodations - starred and budget hotels - in the area for New Year was at 80 per cent.
"The good trend has taken place over the last two months. Normally, the occupancy rate is between 68 and 72 per cent. It is quite likely that this trend will last until January 7," Lombok Hotels Association (LHA) head Stephane Servin told the Post on Saturday.
LHA represents 28 starred hotels in Lombok, most of which are situated in Senggigi.
Stephane, who is also general manager of The Santosa Villas & Resort Senggigi, said most guests have come from France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, while domestic tourists are from Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung.
NTB Tourism Promotion Board (BPPD) head Awanadhi Aswinabawa said the number of tourist arrivals this year was expected to increase compared to last year.
"In 2012, there were 1.3 tourists coming to NTB. We are optimistic that there is a 20 to 30 per cent increase this year," Awanadhi said, adding that the opening of new direct flights to Lombok contributed to the increasing arrivals.
Meanwhile in Bandung, West Java, the city administration plans to hold the Car Free Night along Jl. Ir. H. Djuanda (Jl. Dago) and Jl. Kepatihan, to celebrate New Year's Eve on Tuesday.
Bandung City Tourism and Culture Agency head Erlan Joerliawan Soemardi said the event would go from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. "There will be Sundanese cultural carnivals and the launch of a tourist bus service and the opening of the Lampion Park," said Erlan.
Along the closed roads, two stages will be set up for music concerts. "There will also be fireworks," he added.