Sorong, W Papua (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has appealed to West Papua to improve the management of Raja Ampat Islands as a tourist destination and get more locals involved as tour operators.

"I have spoken to investors, who will help Papua to develop its people’s economy. They deplored the involvement of too many foreign operators of diving tours while visiting Raja Ampat," Pandjaitan stated here on Thursday.

The minister cautioned against this not occurring in future while emphasizing that the West Papua administration should involve more local operators in the management of Raja Ampat Islands.

He called on the West Papua governor to chalk out a program that aims to involve 80 percent of Papuans to operate a diving tour in Raja Ampat within the next two or three years.

"We will handle the issue in Raja Ampat, so the development program in the region can benefit the local people," Pandjaitan asserted.

The minister also drew attention to the coral reef damage in the islands caused by reckless liveaboard boats anchored in the area, saying that it would take years to revive the damaged coral reef.

The minister pointed to the issue becoming a grave concern for the government.

"Improve the quality of education that focuses on the tourism sector in a bid to support the development of sustainable natural resources," Pandjaitan stated.

Located in the West Papua region of the coral triangle, Raja Ampat has the highest identified concentration and diversity of marine life globally.

It has also become Indonesia's top liveaboard diving destination.

ANTARA recorded that during the period from December 2019 to January 2020, a foreign cruise ship and two Indonesian-flagged ships had hit the coral reef in the resort area of Raja Ampat. Related news: Cruise ship visits to Raja Ampat yet to contribute significantly

Related news: Joint research uncovers walking shark species in Raja Ampat, Halmahera


Translator: Ernes BK, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2020