Manado, North Sulawesi (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said that North Sulawesi should have four-star rated tourism facilities for the convenience of tourists.

He said this during his visit to a small and medium scale (SME) tourism location known as "The Window of Indonesia" here on Thursday.

Jokowi is on a working visit to North Sulawesi from July 4 to 5, 2019. He checked the Tanjung Pulisan-Likupang Special Economic Zone (KEK) on Thursday, and will inspect the Bitung KEK on Friday. The two special economic zones are expected to support the tourism industry in the province.

The tourism industry in North Sulawesi has potential and could help boost the local economy, he said.

He instructed Public Works and Public Housing Minister, Basuki Hadimuljono, to fix and improve the various facilities such as the local airport's runway and roads to boost the tourism industry there.

Meanwhile, the number of foreign tourists visiting the province between January and May 2019 reached 55,144 people, an increase of 9.67 percent from 50,284 as compared to the January-May 2018 period, according to data from the Manado immigration office. Foreign tourists constituted those from China (86 percent), Singapore (two percent), Germany (two percent), the United States of America (1.3 percent), and other nations.

North Sulawesi has been referred to as "The Rising Star" by the Tourism Ministry because it has managed to increase its tourism growth by 600 percent over the last four years.

The number of foreign tourists visiting North Sulawesi, particularly Manado and Bitung, was recorded at 20 thousand in 2015, which increased to 40 thousand in 2016, 80 thousand in 2017, and 120 thousand in 2018.

The number of domestic tourist arrivals also rose from two million to four million, an increase of 200 percent, while other regions only recorded an increase of five to 10 percent.

While visiting North Sulawesi, Jokowi was accompanied by First Lady, Iriana; Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Darmin Nasution; Cabinet Secretary, Pramono Anung; Public Works and Public Housing Minister, Basuki Hadimuljono; Transportation Minister, Budi Karya Sumadi; Agrarian and Land Spatial Minister, Sofyan Djalil; Justice and Human Rights Minister, Yasonna Laoly; and North Sulawesi Governor, Olly Dondokambey.

Translator: Desca L Natalia, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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