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While the Indonesian government is still planning on creating ten new tourism destinations around the archipelago, or as they call it the 10 New Balis, they now have four destinations that will be the main priority. They are Mandalika, Lake Toba, Borobudur, and Labuan Bajo.

The Minister of Public Work and Public Housing, Pak. Basuki Hadimuljono said, President Joko Widodo has asked his ministry to create the area design and main plan for those four destinations. The plans will include the main and surrounding areas, such as hotels, restaurants, and stores.

He said that the area that can be set as an example is Nusa Dua, Bali. They have a main area in the center and the surrounding area is used as recreation areas. “I was asked to do the planning. For example, to plan where the parking areas, cafés, and the locations of other constructions will be,” Basuki said to after he had a meeting with the President on Thursday.

Basuki said, there are some constraints on those four areas, like land acquisition problems. For example in the Toba Lake area, the authorities still have difficulties to prepare the land that will be developed for tourism and supporting areas. Even though, the planning was set up two years ago.

He said, there is no target set for the completion of the plans. It was not set because participation from other ministries involved needed to be included in the plans. The project has been focused down from ten to four destinations due to the administration process. The government has decided to choose the most strategic areas that can become foreign and local tourists’ destinations than try to manage all of the areas at once.

In the meeting with Mr. Jokowi said that Indonesia has a great opportunity to develop the tourism sector. Many tourists will come to Indonesia due to its geographic location and nature. At this time, there are approx. 125 million Chinese tourists, and 62 million of them have picked places in Asia as their destinations. In the next five years, Chinese tourists will increase to 180 million. “If we can prepare 10 New Bali destinations with their own uniqueness, it will become more than interesting,” he said.

Indonesia has beaches, mountains, culture and heritage that can become tourism attractions. With adequate facilities in every destination, it is very possible to attract a third of the Chinese tourists to come to our country every year. “I think we have enough interesting things here to get 20 million Chinese tourists to come to our country every year,” Mr. Jokowi said.

With those numbers, the target that has been set by the Ministry of Tourism of 20 million tourists per year is possible to achieve. He asked all of the ministries to prepare an integrated program in each area’s development. For example, in regard to Lake Toba, Mr. Jokowi has asked them to strengthen the surrounding culture and customs. Meanwhile, in Mandalika (south Lombok), there is much land that needs to be planted with trees.

Image: KEK Mandalika (