Tourism holds huge potential as largest foreign exchange earner: President

Tourism holds huge potential as largest foreign exchange earner: President

President Joko Widodo . (Bayu Prasetyo)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) highlighted the high potential of tourism in becoming the largest contributor of foreign exchange.

The tourism industry should be intensified further to offer more foreign exchange to the nation, Jokowi stated during a gala dinner to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association of Indonesian Restaurants and Hotels (PHRI), here, Monday evening.

"Our tourism potential is huge. We are among the six most beautiful countries and the top 10 countries that must be visited," he pointed out.

Jokowi believes that such recognition must become a brand and asset for Indonesia`s tourism, he added.

He said tourism has contributed foreign exchange worth US$16 billion, exceeding those from palm oil and CPO.

"Now, it is already the highest," Jokowi noted.

The president has urged the public works and public housing minister to prioritize infrastructure development in four of the 10 New Bali tourist destinations. The four priority destinations are Mandalika, Lake Toba, Labuan Bajo, and Borobudur.

Infrastructure development should not only be centered on Java Island, where 149 million of the country`s 260 million population, reside.

During the gala dinner, Jokowi was accompanied by Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.

Meanwhile, President Jokowi was named Father of Indonesian Tourism during the gala dinner of (PHRI).

PHRI Chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani bestowed the title on Jokowi at the Jakarta Convention Hall.

"The honorary title of Father of National Tourism was bestowed by PHRI on Mr Jokowi for his initiatives and commitment to tourism development since he was the mayor of Solo," Sukamdani noted.

Infrastructure development projects, such as toll roads, 11 new airports, seaports, and power plants, constructed by President Jokowi across Indonesia, have directly affected the tourism sector, he pointed out.

Owing to Jokowi`s policies, including on visa-free travel, the rise in tourist arrivals in Indonesia has surpassed the average increase in the regions, he remarked.

Reporting by Hanni Sofia, fardah