We will build two water buses to support tourism here (in Lake Toba)
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Transportation Ministry has allocated Rp22 billion for the provision of two water buses in Lake Toba, North Sumatra, that have become a priority in the development of the "10 New Bali" project. "We will build two water buses to support tourism here (in Lake Toba)," Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in a statement here Monday.

The “10 New Bali” project is 10 destinations in Indonesia that are assigned to be “the next Bali” and are projected to attract many visitors, just like Bali. The “10 New Bali” includes Borobudur Temple (Central Java), Belitung (Sumatra), Mount Bromo (East Java), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara), Lake Toba (North Sumatra), Seribu Islands (Jakarta), Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi), Tanjung Lesung (Banten), and Morotai (North Maluku).

The ministry's Directorate General of Land Transportation is readying five ships to serve the transportation needs to cross Lake Toba. Of the five, two are water buses that will also be operated as cruise liners.

The water buses will be able to accommodate 50 passengers, three cars and 36 motorcycles, and are expected to be completed by 2020, the Director General of Land Transportation, Budi Setiyadi said.

"We prepare this bus to have multi-functions, as transportation for passengers and for people who can have dinner on it," Setiyadi said, adding that construction of each bus will need Rp11 billion.

Earlier, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya called on the local government to optimize the use of the budget of Rp2.2 trillion, allotted by the central government in 2020 for the development of Lake Toba.

"This is aimed at developing Lake Toba into a better destination, to attract more tourists and increase foreign exchange revenue," Yahya said.

The government previously allocated Rp6.4 trillion for development of four "super priority" destinations, namely Lake Toba, Borobudur, Mandalika and Labuan Bajo.

Lake Toba had received the largest funding of Rp2.2 trillion.

In a bid to improve accessibility, the capacity of Silangit Airport in Siborong-borong, North Sumatra, will be improved from only 100 thousand passengers per year to 500 thousand per year, Yahya said.

"The target of foreign tourist visits to Lake Toba and other areas in North Sumatra is set at one million. In 2018, the number of visitors to Silangit reached 420 thousand and is expected to reach 500 thousand in 2019," the minister said.

Related news: Indonesia invites Brunei to invest in "10 new Bali"

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Translator: Ahmad W, Sri Haryati
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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