Indonesia to turn former mine areas into tourism destinations

The man-made Kaolin Lake in Bangka, Belitung

The Indonesian government is breathing new life into Tanjung Gunung and Sungailiat by declaring these former mining areas on the eastern coast of Sumatra’s Bangka Island as tourism special economic zones.

This will be the second and third such zones in the Bangka-Belitung (Babel) Province after Tanjung Kelayang on Belitung Island, which is currently undergoing an accelerated development.

Bangka Island is currently developing more tourist infrastructure; Kaolin Lake in Bangka, Indonesia pictured

The development of tourism is deemed vital to Bangka following the downturn of the mining industry, which used to be a major economic contributor to the island.

Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s minister of tourism, said the economic development in Babel Province between 2012 and 2016 was relatively stagnant with farming, forestry and fishery as the dominating sectors, while mining declined from 15.4 per cent in 2012 to 12 per cent in 2016. During this time, the transportation sector was on the rise.

Arief said: “Babel has to transform its economy from mining to tourism, and this transformation has to start from the commitment of its CEO (the governor) to become the agent of change.”

Johan Riduan Hasan, owner of the 385ha Tanjung Gunung Tourism Resort, said the property’s developer Pan Semujur Makmur is investing 1.6 trillion rupiah (US$121.5 million) in the preliminary development of the area. There are plans to transform Tanjung Gunung into a business events destination, with meetings and convention facilities to be built there.

Meanwhile, the 273ha Sungailiat East Coast Tourism Resort plans to promote its beaches, and culture and religious tourism. Development plans include hotels, marine tourism, sports and agrotourism amenities.

Erzaldi Rosman Djohan, governor of Babel, said the regional government would also ease licensing processes and provide incentives for investors.

Arief Yahya further shared that the central government and financial authorities also encouraged homestay investments a with loan scheme of one per cent downpayment, and flat five per cent interest for 20 years.

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