Jokowi spends Rp3.5 trillion to upgrade Lake Toba

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Jokowi hopes Rp3.5 trillion investment from state budget can attract 3-5 times as much from abroad. (photo: FLICKR)

IO, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo has requested improvement of the Lake Toba area in order to turn it into a classy tourist area. The amount set aside for this purpose from the State Budget is Rp 3.5 trillion. Jokowi hopes that his initial State Budget investment would generate “More than double than the investment made from the State Budget, but 3, 4, 5 times the amount we spent from the State Budget instead,” he said when visiting Sipinsur Geosite in the Regency of Humbang Hasundutan, Province of North Sumatra, as quoted from the Presidential Secretariat Press Release dated Monday, 29 July 2019.

Jokowi admitted that there are a number of improvements needed before the biggest volcanic lake in the world is ready to be counted as one of the must-visit tourist destinations. He further stated that there are at least 28 tourist destinations that can be developed in the Lake Toba area, either due to their history, culture, or natural beauty feature that they have.

Jokowi stated that he intends not only to improve tourist area, but also the environmental condition around Lake Toba. “We are going to push for actual total change. We are also going to improve the environmental condition that you ask about, one by one,” he said.

 Jokowi further stated that he is ready and willing to revoke the business permit of companies that are proven to have damaged the environment. The Government will also review and select areas in order to discover which ones it should develop for tourism and non-tourism interests of the people. “It takes time. We cannot simply say directly where we will make developments and who will be doing the developments. We will work with a proper design in order to be able to implement the plan correctly and in detail,” he said.

He further requests that the development of tourism in Lake Toba be integrated with HR development. The Government will focus on developing the area’s HR and brand image in order to differentiate it from other tourist areas in Indonesia, such as Bali and Mandalika. “We are integrating everything – the products, the HR, the packaging. We are building the brand, we are differentiating it from Bali, from Mandalika. This is how it is supposed to be, to make people know that there are differences when they come to Indonesia: oh, we have visited Toba, but still have not visited Bali, still have not visited Mandalika. This is because they are all different and we want to develop these differences,” he said.

The Lake Toba tourism development plan will start in 2019 and the target is to complete it by next year. The construction of supporting structures and facilities has comenced in 2018. (dsy)