NYIA, to be inaugurated in April this year, will be a solution to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Borobudur Temple and other destinations in Central Java and Yogyakarta, Yahya remarked following a coordinating meeting on tourism development held at the office of Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla, here, Wednesday.
At the meeting, Yahya and Kalla expressed concern over the fact that only 250 thousand foreign tourists visited Borobudur, which is bigger than the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia, while Angkor Wat received 2.5 million foreign tourists annually. Both temples are included on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Kalla said one factor behind the low foreign tourist arrivals is the absence of an international airport in proximity to Borobudur Temple.
The existing airport in Yogyakarta receives six million passengers a year, thereby surpassing its capacity of only 1.5 million.
Minister Yahya expressed hope that NYIA would be able to help increase the number of foreign tourists to Borobudur to two million annually within five years.
"When the new airport operates, my target is two million (foreign tourists) within five years, similar to the number of those visiting Angkor Wat," he stated.
At the coordinating meeting, Kalla urged Minister Yahya to intensify promotion of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur Temple, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara to attract more foreign tourists to the four priority tourist destinations.
Built during the reign of a king belonging to the Saliendra Dynasty between 750 and 842 AD, Borobudur temple is located in Mendut Village, Magelang District, Central Java Province, some 42 kilometers from the city of Yogyakarta, at the center of Java Island.
Borobudur Temple, with a massive step pyramid structure made from giant stone blocks, is built on a hill and is surrounded by valleys and hills. The levels rise up representing the stages of enlightenment.
Reporting by Fransiska Ninditya, Fardah A