Indonesia is expecting a two-fold increase of Arabian tourists. Why? I'm not so sure. But one thing certain: this hype has attracted our Vice President to make a "sensitive" remark about Indonesia's informal sex industry, although he clarified it here.
A couple of months back, an UGM economics professor delived a speech in Jakarta about how to lure Arabian tourists into the country. Although the rationale given by the organizer seemed pretty clear: Indonesia is a "Muslim" country, and there are a lot of "Islamic" historic sites which should be interesting for muslim tourists, such as Sunan Kalijaga's tomb and what not, the professor is not convinced.
In the airport, where we met, he said:
1) "To Arabs, Indonesians are their domestics, their housekeepers. I, for one, would not be interested in visiting my housekeeper's village out in the countryside..."
2) "What's more interesting for many Arabian tourists is the sex and gambling industry, and Indonesia is not very attractive in that sense."
Sex and gambling seem to be more interesting to many tourists than religious sites. And it seems that our VP understands this pretty well. However, being "Indonesian", he'll have to be more careful about remarks he makes in public.