Indonesia's Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, on Monday 28 October, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Jakarta with Swiss Minister for the Economy, Schneider-Amman, to further develop four of Indonesia's main tourism destinations, in particular in the field of tourism capacity building.
The four destinations are : the island of Flores, hopping off point to the Komodo National Park, but itself a destination rich in culture and natural scenery to visit in the East Nusatenggara Province; Tanjung Puting in Central Kalimantan, conservation rainforests for the endangered Borneo orangutans, popular river tours and ecotours; Wakatobi archipelago in South East Sulawesi, already a favorite destination for diving and conservation area for marine life; and the Toraja highlands in the northern mountains of South Sulawesi, long known for its unique culture, traditions, white water rafting, trekking and ecotours.
This MoU covers the second phase of Destination development in Indonesia supported by the Secretariat for Economic Affairsm of the Swiss Confederation, explained Minister Mari Pangestu, and is a continuation of the first phase that covered development on the island of Flores from 2010 to 2015.
During the first phase, development of Flores and the Komodo islands as a major tourist destination saw a significant increase in visitors compared to 2009, namely a rise of 18% to 50,000 in international visitors and 85% in domestic tourists reaching 35,000 visitors in 2012. Foreign currency income for Flores in 2012 reached US$ 31.5 million, a surge of 48% compared to 2009.
During Phase I, the Swiss government provided a grant of 5 million Swiss Francs, while for the second phase the grant for the 4 destinations amount to 8.97 million Swiss Francs .
On his side, Swiss Economic Minister, Schneider-Amman said that cooperation between Indonesia and Switzerland goes back a long way to 1980, when the Swiss Government provided technical assistance to the Bandung Tourism Academy at the time.
In the second phase, implementation will be undertaken together with local governments, the respective Destination Management Organizations
(DMOs), local human resources, and educational tourism institutes.
The program is implemented by Swisscontact, who has been involved in the original tourism development of Labuan Bajo and West Manggarai as a tourist destination, that in its initial stage was supported by AUSAID.
(Source : Kompas daily)
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