Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), on Wednesday, expressed hope that the opening of Mentawai Airport on Sipora Island, Mentawai Islands District, West Sumatra, would rope in more tourists to the district.

He said the government built Mentawai Airport as a larger airport than the existing Rokot Sipora Airport that can only serve Cessna planes, adding that the new airport, on the other hand, can accommodate ATR 72-600 planes, with a capacity of 78 people.

"Let us hope that by providing a landing ground for ATR planes, the airport will attract more tourists to come visit Mentawai Islands, especially those who love surfing," the president remarked during the inauguration of Mentawai Airport, as broadcast by the Presidential Secretariat YouTube channel.

The head of state also expressed hope that the operation of one of Indonesia's outermost airports would enhance the mobility of people.

"Mentawai Islands' tourism potential can also be further optimized. We hope that surfing tourism activities will flourish. Planes from abroad related to surfing activities can also directly land, be it in Padang or Mentawai," he remarked.

The president then expressed optimism that the airport would augment the region's connectivity, which, in turn, can facilitate people to develop their businesses, thereby elevating their living standards in the end.

President Jokowi commenced his working visit to West Sumatra Province on Wednesday. Along with his entourage, the president arrived at the Minangkabau International Airport, Padang Pariaman District, at around 12:11 p.m. local time.

Upon his arrival, President Jokowi was welcomed by West Sumatra Governor Mahyeldi Ansharullah, Head of the West Sumatra Regional Representative Council (DPRD) Supardi, Bukit Barisan Regional Military Commander Major General Mochammad Hasibuan, and West Sumatra Police Chief Inspector General Suharyono.

Thereafter, the president boarded another aircraft to head to Mentawai Airport for its inauguration.

After inaugurating the airport, he is scheduled to visit Ibu Market in Mentawai Islands District to personally distribute social aid to local merchants.

Following the market visit, the president will return to the Minangkabau International Airport via Mentawai Airport to pay a visit to students and teachers at SMKN (Vocational Public High School) 5 Padang.

Jokowi will then inspect the conditions at a warehouse of state-run logistics company Bulong in Padang City and distribute rice assistance to beneficiary people.

After concluding his activities in West Sumatra, the president will head to South Sumatra and spend the night thereafter.

Chief of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) Moeldoko, Presidential Military Secretary Rear Admiral Hersan, and Commander of the Presidential Security Guard (Paspampres) Major General Rafael Granada Baay, among others, are accompanying the president in West Sumatra.

Related news: Local government confirms no damage from Mentawai earthquake

Translator: Yashinta Difa, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2023