Apparently being home to Bali, a wildly popular destination that attracts more than six million people annually, isn’t quite enough for Indonesia.
The country’s recently re-elected President Joko Widodo has revealed an ambitious plan to create “10 new Balis,” according to the Associated Press.
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Widodo has said he wants to boost tourism and diversify in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. As part of his sweeping vision, provincial airports would be upgraded to improve access to some of the country’s outlying destinations.
In particular, the president is hoping to improve access to places like Lake Toba on Sumatra island, which is more than 800 miles from Jakarta.
Meanwhile, Yogyakarta, the provincial city from which visitors head to the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, will get a second airport. If all goes well, it will be up and running by later this year, Associated Press reported.
Widodo has apparently been talking up his plan with foreign leaders and also with members of the media. During an interview with the Associated Press, the president said he would also like to create more business ties with the Middle East.
“For investment and tourism, we would like to invite investors from the Middle East as much as possible because … we have many tourism locations in Indonesia, not only one or two or four, but many,” Widodo told Associated Press.
At the same time, however, Associated Press reported that Islamic hard-liners in the country have become more assertive over the past few years, a development that may not bode well when it comes to luring investors to Indonesia.
Widodo had also set a target of 20 million visitors to the country for this year, which may have been too ambitious. The 2019 visitor tally is expected to be 18 million, based on current growth.