Jakarta. Indonesia will seize opportunities to increase foreign tourist visits to the country by developing priority tourism destinations across the archipelago, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said on Wednesday (10/01).
"International tourism growth in Indonesia saw an increase by almost four times," Luhut said during a meeting in Toba Samosir, North Sumatra, as quoted in a statement issued by the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
The meeting aimed to coordinate efforts of the executive board of the Lake Toba Authority (BPODT) and the Borobudur Authority (BOB), which are in charge of tourism in their designated areas, with related ministries and institutions in the country.
Foreign tourists in Indonesia increased by 25.7 percent between January and August last year. In comparison, foreign tourists who visited the greater Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region only increased by 7 percent.
During the meeting, which was also attended by Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, Luhut said Indonesia is on track to be the world’s fifth biggest economy by 2030. The minister also emphasized that foreign investments are important to sustain growth.
Foreign investments in Indonesia, according to Luhut, reached $3 billion by August 2017. He added that around 50 percent of foreign investors see Indonesia as an attractive investment, in comparison to other Asian countries.
During a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday, Luhut also said that financing tourism development can be sourced from private investors, and therefore will not solely rely on the state budget.
"We are also increasing development on several tourist destinations – our 10 priority tourist destinations – including Lake Toba," Luhut said, adding that the prioritized destinations also include Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java.
Ongoing efforts in Lake Toba include increasing passenger capacity and expanding the runway at nearby Silangit International Airport.
As for Borobudur, Luhut said BOB needs to coordinate with stakeholders from surrounding destinations, including Sangiran, an archaeological site in Central Java, and Karimun Jawa, a small archipelago near Semarang, also in Central Java.