"In December 2018 alone, the number of tourists visiting Indonesia was 1.41 million, increasing 22.5 percent from 1.15 million in December 2017," he said in a written statement released on Sunday.
Malaysia led tourist arrivals in Indonesia last year with 2.50 million, accounting for 15.83 percent of the overall tourist arrivals.
With the 2.50 million tourist arrivals, Malaysia took over China which ranked second with 2.14 million or 13.52 percent of the total.
The tourism ministry listed five countries as top five sources of tourist arrivals in Indonesia last year. They were Malaysia with 2.50 million or 15.83 percent, China with 2.14 million or 13.52 percent, Singapore with 1.77 million or 11.19 percent, Timor Leste with 1.76 million or 11.15 percent, and Australia with 1.30 million or 8.23 percent.
More than 5.45 million of the overall tourist arrivals in 2018 came from other ASEAN member states, increasing 20.60 percent compared to 4.52 million the year before. Meanwhile, the number of tourist arrivals from Asia other than ASEAN was 5.84 million, growing 14.11 percent compared to 5.12 million in a year ago.
The number of tourist arrivals from the Middle East reached 226.9 thousand, declining 6.13 percent from 284.4 thousand.
Tourist arrivals from Europe contributed 2.008 million to the total, up 1.76 percent from 1.97 million, while those from America contributed 567.7 thousand, up 5.71 percent from 537 thousand.
The number of tourist arrivals from Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and other Oceania countries) reached 1.57 million, representing a 4.43 percent increase compared with 1.50 million. Australia led the number of tourist arrivals from Oceania with 1.3 million, up 3.52 percent from 1.25 million.
Africa contributed 88.6 thousand to the overall tourist arrivals, declining 2.82 percent from 91.2 thousand.
The tourist arrivals in 2018 fell short of the government-set target of 17 million for the year. However, the amount of foreign exchange earnings from the tourism sector is estimated to have increased significantly.
A series of natural disasters hitting several parts of Indonesia particularly main tourist destinations was responsible for the failure to achieve the target of tourist arrivals.
The natural disasters included a series of earthquakes in Lombok, earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Palu and tsunami in Sunda Strait.