TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has made assurance that development of the Lake Toba tourist area in North Sumatra Province was not impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was apparent from the compensation presented by the Lake Toba authority for land acquisition and a groundbreaking ceremony marking the development of 10 tourism villages of the Lake Toba tourism area on Friday, July 10, 2020.
"These two achievements prove that the COVID-19 pandemic is not an obstacle for us to go ahead," Pandjaitan noted in a statement on Saturday.
The land acquisition process had begun since 2018, he remarked.
The minister expressed gratitude for distribution of the Rp26 billion funding to compensate the people for releasing their 279-hectare land.
"I think this is a good step reflecting the government’s care for its people," he stated.
Pandjaitan is optimistic that the Lake Toba development and investment process would proceed speedily following the completion of the first stage of the land acquisition program.
The development of Lake Toba, a central government-designated top-priority tourism destination, is expected to help expedite infrastructure development, preserve the environment, and boost the welfare of the local community.
The coordinating minister thanked state-owned oil company PT Pertamina (Persero) for building toilets of international standard at the Lake Toba tourism area, enhancing the capacity of local villages in processing food products, and distributing fuel through small-scale Pertamina distributors or Pertashop.
Moreover, Pandjaitan thanked state-owned pawn company PT Pegadaian (Persero) for developing a waste treatment program and providing trash cans in the areas of the 10 tourism villages in Lake Toba.
The minister emphasized cleanliness as the most important aspect in tourism since tourists will visit only when they see the area is ready and clean.
In the meantime, Toba Caldera was inscribed on the List of UNESCO Global Geoparks (UGGp) at the 209th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board held in Paris, France, on July 2, 2020.
"With this inscription, Indonesia can develop the Toba Caldera Geopark via the Global Geoparks Network and the Asia Pacific Geoparks Network, especially in connection with empowering the local communities," Indonesian Ambassador to Paris-based UNESCO Arrmanatha Nasir noted in a statement recently.
The Indonesian government has succeeded in convincing UNESCO that Toba Caldera is a genuine evidence of high geological phenomena and traditional heritage of the local communities, especially in terms of the culture and biodiversity.
In this context, UNESCO member countries supported the preservation and protection of Toba Caldera as part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks.
Read also: Indonesia's Lake Toba Named UNESCO Global Geopark