Indonesia opens arms to tourism investments

Identified priority development areas include Lake Toba

Projects with a total investment value of US$2.9 billion were presented to delegations of investors at the Regional Investment Forum, which took place in Padang, West Sumatra from October 15 to 17.

Thomas Lembong, head of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), said there were five projects with an estimated value of US$2.3 billion around Lake Toba (Sumatra), 10 projects in the Borobudur area (Central Java) with an investment value of US$562 million and two hotel projects totalling an investment value of US$60 million in Tanjung Kelayang (Belitung).

Identified priority development areas include Lake Toba

Apart from these three development areas, BKPM and the Ministry of Tourism also brought to the table five other destinations that were part of the 10 New Bali development areas plus two areas in West Sumatra, namely Gunung Padang integrated resort in Padang City and Mandeh Beach marine tourism development in Pesisir Selatan Regency.

Lembong said: “Tourism is a sector with 30 to 35 per cent growth rate, way above the average national investment which is (around) 12 to 14 per cent annually.”

Arief Yahya, tourism minister, also revealed projections that tourism would become the biggest foreign exchange earner for Indonesia in future. “Preparing the attractions and amenities (facilities and infrastructure) as well as accessibility is our priority, especially for the 10 priority destinations,” he said.

Speaking on the importance of events such as the Regional Investment Forum, Arief said investment in the tourism sector is key as a sign of investor confidence and could change the game for Indonesia in the face of competing destinations.

Data from BKPM showed investment in the tourism sector is growing. In 2013, investment in tourism was US$602 million, contributing 1.5 per cent to the total national investment.

“In the first half of this year, the investment on tourism reached US$929 million, or 3.8 per cent of the total national investment,” Arief said, explaining that the growth rate in terms of contribution to the total national investment more than doubled.

The Regional Investment Forum 2017 was attended by dignitaries from government agencies, the senior deputy governor of Bank Indonesia (Central Bank), foreign diplomats, as well as investors from 13 countries in Asia, the UAE, Europe and the US.

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