10/21/2017, 15.26
INDONESIA
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Beaches, diving, culture: Jakarta to boost tourism

Indonesia has the world’s second longest coastline. In 2014, maritime tourism generated only US$ 1 billion in revenue. The government now wants to bring that to US$ 4 billion by 2019. The goal is to go beyond Bali, and promote nature and cruise ships in ten other seaside areas.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) –  The Indonesian government plans to monetise the country's vast coastal regions, and increase fourfold revenue from maritime tourism.

In 2014, maritime tourism attracted only about one million foreign visitors to Indonesia, and generated US$ 1 billion, only 10 per cent of the total foreign exchange revenue from the tourism sector.

The authorities are now determined to increase the number of foreign visitors to 4 million and foreign exchange income to US$ 4 billion by 2019.

Although Indonesia has the world’s second longest coastline, the tourist sector is dominated by cultural attractions, with more than half of all foreign visitors, followed by nature.

Maritime tourism has so far been limited to seaside activities, especially at the country’s most popular site, Kuta Beach in Bali.

On Wednesday, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said that the government wants to develop other activities, such as yachting, cruise ships and diving.

He highlighted the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua, which are home to the planet's most diverse fish and coral resources and are among the world's best diving sites.

The ministry has identified another ten top diving sites it banks on for tourism, such as Bunaken in North Sulawesi, Derawan in East Kalimantan and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).

The Tourism Ministry plans to improve infrastructure and provide regulatory support to develop tourism in these areas.

Tourism is one of the areas Indonesian President Joko Widodo has given priority in his political agenda. The goal is to reach 15 million visitors this year and 20 million in 2019.

Tourism is set to become the most important contributor of foreign currency by 2019 with US$ 20 billion, surpassing commodities like palm oil.

Last year, it secured the second spot with US.5 billion, ahead of the oil and gas sector.

The president has announced that Indonesia will build up to ten ports in a push to boost maritime tourism.

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