"Tourism has employed the largest number of manpower, but indeed it needs a change of the community`s culture," President Jokowi said.
Simalungun, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said that the tourism industry is the number one provider of jobs.

"Tourism has employed the largest number of manpower, but indeed it needs a change of the communitys culture," President Jokowi said before prominent community figures living in Lake Toba area, here, Saturday evening.

A change is needed because basically the community should be able to serve tourists coming to their region.

"I hope prominent community, religious, and custom figures could give guidance to the community," the Head of State said.

Lake Toba which has been known internationally, has huge tourism potential.

"However, over the past several years, its image and branding as a tourist area has dropped. Therefore, we work on Lake Toba first, among 10 destinations designated by a presidential decree," he said.

Lake Toba area is being promoted as an eco-tourism destination and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism to be developed on 600 ha plot of land in the authority zone.

The local culture and traditions will be strengthened and promoted as tourist attractions.

To support the development of Lake Toba as a main tourist destination, the capacity of Silangit Airport will be expanded.

"I have ordered the transportation minister and Angkasa Pura (state airport operator) to widen and lengthen the runway. I have asked for demolition of its terminal within a week, and the new one should be ready in the end of this year," he said.

The president also asked Garuda Indonesia to fly to Silangit Airport thrice a week, whether it is empty or full.

"We will be grateful if it is full of passengers, so the flights could be served daily, not only by Garuda but also others such as Sriwijaya and Wing Air," he noted.

Initially, Silangit Airports capacity would be expanded to 150 thousand passengers, but now it would be increased further to 180 thousand passengers per year.

The government will also create a world-class flower park to support the Lake Toba tourism.

Jokowi also urged villagers living around Lake Toba area to plant trees for the preservation of the environment.

"I just planted trees. The target is 300 thousand trees per district, or one million per year for all districts. We dont want the water of Lake Toba to decrease due to environmental degradation," he said.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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