Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan on Friday (10/11) said the Indonesian government will use studies by the World Bank to try to solve problems of poverty in coastal areas and address lack of tourism development in two of the country’s priority tourist destinations, Lake Toba in North Sumatra and Bali.
“We have asked [the World Bank] to study Lake Toba and its surroundings, including the lake’s water quality and the living conditions of people there,” Luhut told reporters in Jakarta.
The studies will be used as references for resource and waste management in an effort to develop tourism in the area.
“We want to make sure that no one damages the lake. If the water quality is poor, tourists will stop coming,” Luhut said.
Lake Toba is one of Indonesia’s new top ten priority destinations — also known as Ten New Balis — which the government has been promoting heavily.
During a meeting with the World Bank’s country director, Rodrigo Chavez, on Friday, the minister also discussed the state of tourism in Bali — still Indonesia’s most popular tourist island — and ways to reduce poverty in the country’s coastal areas.
Luhut and Chavez discussed whether the so-called Island of the Gods will soon need a new airport.
Chavez also delivered a preliminary report on poverty in Indonesia’s coastal areas during the meeting.
“There is a lot of poverty there, which is something we must tackle. This is especially so on the southern coast of Java,” Luhut said.
According to the minister, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had ordered the studies several months ago. The final reports will be completed by the World Bank in a few weeks.