Silangit, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called to bring about a tourism "explosion" to promote Lake Toba, in particular, and Batak land, in general, which has rich culture and natural resources as well as scenic beauty.

"Some 74 thousand years ago, a gigantic volcanic explosion occurred in Lake Toba that had impacted the entire world. Now, we are making a new explosion in the tourism world by opening the gateway to the beautiful and culturally rich Toba and Batak tribe, which is now wide open," the president remarked while inaugurating a new terminal of the Silangit International Airport in Silangit, Siborong-borong, North Tapanuli, North Sumatra Province, Friday.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut B. Panjaitan, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, State Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, and North Sumatra Governor Tengku Erry Nuradi were among those at the inauguration ceremony.

The airport will serve as a gateway for domestic and foreign tourists to visit Lake Toba and the surrounding areas and enjoy the Batak culture and tradition, he noted.

The president expressed belief that the tourism industry would help improve the welfare of the Batak people.

The length of the runway of Silangit Airport has been extended from 1,800 meters to 2,650 meters.

"As wide-bodied aircraft can land at this airport, we will conduct tourism promotion activities in Hong Kong, China, India, and Taiwan to attract tourists from these countries to come here, either aboard regular or chartered aircraft," Jokowi noted.

The president has issued a directive to further extend the runway of the Silangit Airport, from 2,650 meters to three thousand meters before 2020.

Silangit Airport was upgraded to an international airport on October 28, 2017.

With a capacity to annually serve 500 thousand passengers, the Silangit Aiport has the custom, immigration, and quarantine facilities; a runway measuring 2,650 meters in length and 50 meters in width; and PCN capable of accommodating Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800.

Designed to be a smart airport, it has free Wi-Fi facility, displays of flight and bus schedules, e-payment, bus ticketing machine, a tourist information booth, self check-in facility, and several other digital features.

Reported by Ahmad Wijaya

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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