This huge gap can be filled only if Indian authorities take up a more aggressive approach and start promoting India as a health and education hub to lure more tourists to their land, Saut Siringoringo, counsel general, Consulate General of The Republic of Indonesia, said.
"Indian travellers now rank fifthe among all sources of foreign tourist visitors to Bali," the Indonesian tourism ministry said in a compendium, titled `Indonesia country profile - Trade, Tourism & Investment opportunities'. High ranking officials representing the Indonesian tourism ministry are in India and are travelling to select cities to woo more Indian tourists, which is something Indian authorities should also indulge in.
The Indonesian authorities expect at least half a million Indian tourists travelling to their country this year.
"To achieve this goals, Indonesia will place emphasis on digital promotions, air connectivity and construction of 20,000 home stays in tourism villages across the archipelago," the ministry said.
"Of these 5 lakh potential arrivals, we expect to get at least 60% to come to Bali alone," said IGN Rai Suryawijaya, chairman of Badung tourism promotion board.
More and more Indians prefer going to Bali because it closely resembles India on culture and religious background. So, the officials are now out to promote "top 10 new destinations," dubbing them as "10 new Balis."
Even in terms of bilateral trade, data shows, India needs to do a lot more to bridge the huge trade deficit.
The Indo-Indonesian bilateral trade touched $12.96 billion in 2016, in which India imported about products worth $10.09 billion while managed to exports product worth $2.87 billion.
Here again, Indonesia has a piece of advice for India, when it says - "there is considerable potential for expanding trade in the areas of IT, pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors, among others".