Arie Suhendro of the 10 Top Priority Destinations Working Group on Morotai Island of the Tourism Ministry stated here on Wednesday that the Wonderful Morotai Island program had been launched, and the main activities will be held from September 26 to October 20, 2016, when thousands of yachts are scheduled to arrive in Morotai.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya vowed to lend constant support and develop Morotai into a world-class tourist destination. Big investors need to come forward to develop amenities in Morotai in a bid to realize the goal.
Yahya noted that Morotai should be transformed into a world-class tourism destination due to its maritime and coastal attractions coupled with its rich World War II history.
Morotai holds strategic importance as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and China are located in the north, while Singapore and other ASEAN members are situated on the west of the island. In the south lies Australia and New Zealand, while the Island Republic of Palau and the Pacific Island countries are located on the east of the island.
Various activities are being organized as part of the "Wonderful Morotai Island 2016" program to make it a grand event, he stated.
The island offers a blend of natural and man-made marine tourism and cultural attractions. The cultural charms of the islands of Zum Zum, Tugu Trikora, and Gotalamo Village will also be showcased to tourists. Moreover, the Special Economic Zone of Morotai, the World War II Museum, and the Kolorai Island will be promoted as tourist attractions.
"We will continue to build the 3As (accessibility, attractiveness, and amenities) programs," noted Arie.
The 10 Top Priority Destinations Working Group on Morotai Island is taking steps to develop 24 isles as tourism destinations, of which 19 are diving areas. Accessibility will be developed in the form of sea, air, and land transportation facilities.
The main development is currently focused on the airport. Since March 18, 2016, Dimonim Air has operated a weekly flight using an 18-seater aircraft. However, since April 27, 2016, Wings Air has served tourists by operating a 70-seater aircraft seven times a week.
The development of electricity, water, accommodation, and telecommunication facilities is also being prioritized. Several state-owned companies and relevant institutions are working towards developing these facilities.
PT Jababeka Morotai is also ready to develop one thousand homestays and toilets in 2017, three thousand units in 2018, and six thousand others in 2019.
"The government supports it through a financing program in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry; Public Works and Public Housing Ministry; and state-owned housing saving banks (BTN)," stated Arie.
To become a world-class tourist destination, Morotai should have an airport meeting international standards. The government is currently building a 2.4 thousand-meter-long runway, which still needs to be extended by another 600 meters.
Arie is optimistic that Morotai would be able to attract some 500 thousand foreign tourists until 2019. In 2015, some one thousand foreign tourists had visited Morotai, and this year, it has set a target to lure 2,750 visitors. In 2017, the figure is expected to increase to 11 thousand and 66 thousand in 2018. Hence, by 2019, the number of foreign visitors to Morotai will reach some 500 thousand tourists.