Seven investors from Indonesia have committed a total of $400 million in funding to help the government develop Lake Toba in North Sumatra into a world-class tourist attraction. (Antara Photo/Irsan Mulyadi)

Lake Toba Sees $400m Investment for Tourism Development

OCTOBER 13, 2018

Nusa Dua. Seven investors from Indonesia have committed a total of $400 million in funding to help the government develop Lake Toba in North Sumatra into a world-class tourist attraction.

The investors signed the deal with the Lake Toba Tourism Authority (BPODT) in the sidelines of the 2018 International Monetary Fund-World Bank Annual Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Thursday.

The investors, which include Bachtiar Karim (Gaia Toba Mas), Berlinton Siahaan (Agung Concern), David Makes (Alas Rimbawan Lestari), Erwin Hutabrat (Gamaland Toba Properti), Suhendro Santosa (Crystal Land Development), Surya Darmadi (Asset Pacific) and Wiraseno (Arcs House-Jambuluwuk), will develop a 77.5-hectare area around the lake.

"The BPODT welcomes investors who are highly committed to developing Lake Toba as an ecotourism region. We will ensure that the development process goes according to an ecotourism approach that maintains the harmony between nature, people and spiritual aspects," BPODT president director Arie Prasetyo said.

Arie said the investors will begin to develop international standard hotels and resorts, a center for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE), agro-forestry, organic farming, village tourism and tourism education and also empower the people in the area.

Lake Toba is one of four new tourist destinations the government seeks to transform to rival Bali, Indonesia's prime tourist destination, to attract more foreign exchange into the country.

The Ministry of Tourism has projected that Indonesia could attract $20 billion from foreign tourist arrivals by next year, making the sector the largest foreign exchange contributor.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo established the BPODT two years ago with a mandate to direct ecotourism development at Lake Toba that conserves the environment, empowers local communities and preserves local knowledge and traditions in the area.

The authority has set a target to attract at least a million foreign tourists to Lake Toba annually by next year. It is now working to have the area declared a Unesco Global Geopark to increase its international recognition.

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