Tourism Sector Contributes USD17 Billion to Indonesias Foreign Exchange
Foreign exchange revenues from tourism sector in Indonesia reached USD17 billion last year and the country still has enormous potential in the sector that can be developed, President Joko Jokowi Widodo said.
Tourism is the biggest contributor for our foreign exchange, defeated palm oil which used to be at that position, President Jokowi said at the 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner of Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) at Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel, Jakarta, Monday (11/2).
Based on global survey conducted by renowned UK publisher Rough Guides, Indonesia is ranked sixth of the most beautiful countries in the world and book publisher Lonely Planet has also included this country in the list of top 10 countries to visit. For that reason, the President approved the Rp7 trillion budget allocation requested by Minister of Tourism for marketing purpose.
However, he admitted that a few numbers of tourist destination are not ready to welcome the tourists yet. Therefore, he ordered Minister of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) to focus only at 4 New Bali destinations instead of 10.
Lets focus to develop 4 New Bali since those destinations are more well prepared, including Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Toba Lake (North Sumatera), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara) and Borobudur Temple (Central Java), President Jokowi said.
On that occasion, the President also explained the progress of Jakarta-Semarang-Surabaya toll road which will be connected with Banyuwangi in 2020, and expressed his hope that regional governments can help to connect the toll road with local tourism destinations.
If regional governments are unable to build the connectivity, please ask the Central Government through Minister of PUPR to build it, said the President.
The President believed that with good connectivity, tourism sector can grow significantly. Chairman of the PHRI Haryadi Sukamdani said that the growth rate of Indonesia tourism has reached 22%, almost 3 times higher than the growth of world tourism which only 6% – 7%.
According to the President, this rate should be maintained and followed by infrastructures development in tourist areas.
I would like to listen to inputs and suggestions from Minister of Tourism on which tourism destinations to be prioritized and what infrastructures to be built so that the program will be right on target and everyone can enjoy the benefits, President Jokowi added.
For the record, on that occasion, President Jokowi received Father of National Tourism (Bapak Pariwisata Nasional) award from the PHRI. I hope we can continue to work together for the sake of Indonesia tourism, the President concluded. (FID/OJI/ES)
Translated by: Estu Widyamurti
Edited by: Mia Medyana