Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia has emphasised the Federal Government’s commitment to try and help boost tourism in Indonesia.
On Monday, Paul Grigson announced Australia would be providing funding through the World Bank to help create 10 new Balis.
That commitment reportedly dominated discussions with Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan, in Jakarta on Monday afternoon.
“We talked mainly about tourism and the master plans that we are funding through the World Bank to help Indonesia with its tourism plans,” Mr Grigson said after emerging from the discussion.
“We are talking about how we might work with Indonesia on developing the 10 new Balis that the President [Joko Widodo] talks about.”
A draft World Bank document shows Indonesia is seeking a $US180 million ($230 million) loan to initially develop three locations as new tourism hotspots and an additional $US570 million ($90 million) from the World Bank based on results.
The three locations are Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, and Borobudur temple site in Yogyakarta in Central Java.
“The Government of Indonesia has decided to transform Indonesia’s economy using tourism as one of the main growth drivers,” the draft World Bank document said.
The document did not state how much funding the Australian Government was contributing.
Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesia President Joko Widodo make a visit to Tanah Abang market in Jakarta. (AAP: Eka Nickmatulhuda, file)
It said the Indonesian Government wanted to increase international arrivals from 9 to 20 million between 2014 and 2019 and tourism from 4 per cent to 20 per cent of GDP over the same period.
But the draft document stated there were four main constraints to this happening, including poor infrastructure and services, a limited tourism workforce, weak environment for private investment, and weak government agencies.
It also noted the importance of potential environmental and social impacts related to development and “issues like resettlement and planning for indigenous peoples”.
The Indonesian Government has also said, among others, it wanted Tanjun Lesung in Banten, the Thousand Islands near Jakarta, and Tanjung Kelayan in Belintung to be considered as Indonesia’s next Bali-like destinations.
The World Bank also noted to build on Bali’s success large new infrastructure investments including airports, toll roads and ports were needed.