Akin to its nickname, the city of Banjarmasin has numerous rivers, right from small to large ones.
The city is home to several well-known rivers in Kalimantan, including Martapura and Barito.
Hence, it comes as no surprise that Banjarmasin develops most of its tourism along rivers. For instance, the Martapura River, meandering through the heart of the city, offers an array of tour packages for the eager explorer.
During a visit to Banjarmasin, tourists and travelers can explore several attractions along the river, one of which is the Muara Kuin floating market.
As the name implies, this market is floating over the river, so all transactions are conducted on boats.
The Muara Kuin floating market has been well-known worldwide and become one of the mainstay attractions in Banjarmasin for both domestic and foreign tourists. The floating market has been around for four centuries.
Moreover, the local government of Banjarmasin has continued to develop river tourism in the city, and has currently also begun promoting river tourism combined with agrotourism, especially in the North Banjarmasin area.
The new route for river tourism to the North Banjarmasin area starts from Martapura River to Gampa River, Terantang River, Andai River, and up to Biuku River.
"This river tour, using motorized canoes, starts from the Wasaka Museum jetty or under the Banua Anyar Bridge," Appiluddin, the chief of North Banjarmasin Sub-district, stated.
In order to further promote river tourism in the city, Banjarmasin Mayor Ibnu Sina has checked the new route for the river tour.
The mayor stated that the new river tour was developed to boost the image of Banjarmasin as a unique river city and a worth-visiting tourist destination.
"This time, we take a river tour to try a new route covering the Andai River and surrounding areas. We entered through the Martapura River and then continued the tour to Gampa River. This river tour also offers an attraction, such as the canoe, designed to run aground to give passengers a sense of adventure. The tour then continues and exits in the Terantang River," Sina stated while describing the river tour he undertook.
He further expounded that the newly developed river agrotourism is an effort made by the local government to revive the tourism sector in Banjarmasin City, already known for its floating markets. With the new river agrotourism, tourists can enjoy a tour aboard a canoe to navigate the river that is located right in the heart of the capital of South Kalimantan Province for some 10 minutes and then entering the Gampa river area.
At the Gampa river area, tourists can not only soak in the sights of local orchards, but they also can enjoy some exotic fruits, such as rambutans, ketapi, cempedak, langsat, mangosteen, and rambai, from the trees.
"Hence, basically, on this route along the river, we provide an agrotourism package that is designed through collaboration with the local community. I believe this river agrotourism can be a unique experience that tourists are interested in," Mayor Sina stated.
Furthermore, after entering the Gampa river area, the tourists will be taken to Terantang River and thereafter to Andai River up to the Biuku River tourist attraction.
At the Biuku river area, tourists can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding natural scenery while sampling a variety of delicious typical Banjarmasin snacks that cannot be easily found in other places.
"This is a natural tourism area developed by the city government and then maintained by local residents. Please visit the Biuku river area that is located at the end of Andai River. Here, you can enjoy a variety of culinary delights that can only be found at the Biuku river area," Mayor Sina noted.
Under President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi’s) leadership, the government remains committed to developing the tourism industry in Indonesia.
During Jokowi’s administration, the allocation of tourism budget has increased, from Rp1.2 trillion in 2014 to Rp2.1 trillion in 2015; Rp3.3 trillion in 2016; Rp3.2 trillion in 2017; Rp3.4 trillion in 2018; and Rp3.8 trillion in 2019.
Infrastructure development projects, such as toll roads, 11 new airports, seaports, and power plants, constructed across Indonesia have directly affected the tourism sector.
Jokowi highlighted the high potential of tourism in becoming the largest contributor of foreign exchange.
"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.
On account of Jokowi’s policies, including on visa-free travel, Indonesia registered nearly 16 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2018.
The rise in tourist arrivals in Indonesia has surpassed the average increase in the regions.
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EDITED BY INE