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2018 OECD Economic Surveys: Indonesia 2018

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Indonesia's steady economic growth, with help from government policies, has raised incomes and lowered poverty rates to record lows. Prudent macroeconomic policies have contributed to economic stability, muted inflation and limited government debt. However, government infrastructure investment and social spending is constrained by low revenues. There is ample scope to grow revenues by strengthening the tax administration to raise compliance and broadening tax bases. Indonesia has a youthful population that will boost growth in coming years. Reaping the benefits requires shifting the employment mix towards better jobs in the formal sector. That, in turn, means tackling informality and raising skill levels, including through further structural reforms and better quality education. Indonesia's wealth of natural resources and rich cultural diversity offer many opportunities to grow tourism across the country. The recent surge in arrivals is generating export revenue but it is also increasing pressure on the environment. Developing tourism more sustainably will involve investing in skills and supporting infrastructure accompanied by local stakeholder involvement.

SPECIAL FEATURES: TAX POLICY; SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

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Making the most of tourism to promote sustainable regional development

Tourism has boomed in Indonesia in recent years and is already one of the main sources of foreign-currency earnings. Indonesia has rich and diverse natural assets, whose tourism potential remains underutilised. The government has an ambitious target of attracting 20 million tourists by 2019, up from nearly 14 million in 2017. The main destination will continue to be Bali. Using Bali as the preferred development model, the government wants to develop other destinations, particularly through infrastructure programmes to improve connectivity, which is a longstanding challenge for tourism as well as for regional development more generally. Enhancing the tourism-related skills of local populations will provide them with expanded job opportunities. This calls for reforms to vocational education and training. Moreover, recent efforts by the authorities to improve the business environment need to continue, including through helping firms embrace digitalisation. Tourism may be growing too fast in some destinations without adequately taking into account sustainability issues, both for the environment and local communities. Better planning and co-ordination at all levels of government and across relevant policy areas can facilitate more sustainable tourism development.

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