January 29, 2020 / 11:06 AM / 19 days ago

CORRECTED-Indonesia's tourism sector will be hit by China virus - finance minister

(Adds dropped word “suspended”, paragraph 6)

JAKARTA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s tourism sector will be affected by China’s virus outbreak as Chinese tourists cancel their travel plans, finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Wednesday.

China is one of the biggest sources of tourists for Indonesia, especially for destinations such as the resort island of Bali.

The virus has killed over 130 people in China and nearly 1,500 new cases were reported on Tuesday. In a bid to contain its spread, Beijing has barred tour groups from visiting other countries.

“The tourism sector will be impacted and this is something that we need to monitor closely because it is one of economic growth sources that Indonesia relies on,” Indrawati told reporters.

Bali has already seen nearly 10,000 tourist cancellations, the vice chairman of the Bali Tourism Board said.

Indonesian airline Lion Air Group said it had suspended six flights routes to China and will suspend all flights to China starting next month.

She said Indonesia will also closely monitor how China’s government will prop up economic growth following the outbreak. China is Indonesia’s top trade partner and sources of foreign investment.

Nearly 2 million Chinese tourists visited Indonesia between January-November last year, statistics agency data showed, or around 13% of total tourist arrivals for that period.

Tourism is among sectors that Indonesian President Joko Widodo wants to expand in efforts to boost economic growth that have stayed at around 5% for several years. (Reporting by Maikel Jefriando; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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