KONTAN.CO.ID - Tourism minister Arief Yahya recently traveled to Banten to attend the opening of Tanjung Lesung Charm 2017 Festival that is held for three days from Sept 22 - 24.
Before the opening ceremony began, Arief alongside Banten governor Wahidin Halim and Pandeglang regent Irna Narulita officiated the groundbreaking ceremony of Dive Center at Tanjung Lesung Beach. The group also made time to visit Kampung 7 Wonders, Bebegig Park, Kolecer Market and Tanjung Lesung Special Economic Zones (KEK) facility.
“One of Tanjung Lesung’s strength is marine tourism, so it is compulsory to have a diving center. Tanjung Lesung has a beautiful underwater, I’ve made a promise before that there will be a diving center and now it’s starting to get built. It was done before in Raja Ampat, later when the construction of this diving center is completed, international tourists who love diving won’t hesitate to come to Tanjung Lesung,” Arief said.
Arief also mentioned that the Tanjung Lesung Charm Festival will bring a positive impact in speeding up the infrastructure development, especially the marina development.
“There’s a positive impact, the marina development for yachts and cruises at Tanjung Lesung needs to start immediately, especially for yachts. The development itself is already included in the list that will be offered to investors,” he added.
When it comes to access, Arief explained that as a world-class destination, it should not take more than two hours to get there. He suggested speeding up the infrastructure development of 83 km Serang – Panimbang toll road.
“We can’t sell Tanjung Lesung if the travel duration from Jakarta is still five hours. Apart from the toll road, there’ll be a railroad reactivation from Labuan to Panimbang,” he said.
Furthermore, Arief said that an international airport is also needed. He gave an example of Silangit Airport in Lake Toba and H.A.S. Hanandjoeddin Airport in Belitung that is slated to be an international airport this year.
“Even though Soekarno – Hatta [International Airport] is located in Banten, but the airport is more for greater Jakarta. I suggest another airport be built in Pandeglang. What’s important is the travel duration shouldn’t be more than two hours to Tanjung Lesung,” the minister said.
When it comes to accommodation, Arief said that before establishing a KEK or Tourism Authority Board, it’s more important to educate the local people first and it should start from Cikadu, Tanjung Lesung.
“The people need to be educated first, their awareness level on how tourism sector has the potential to bring prosperity. Then the construction development can start from Cikadu to Tanjung Lesung,” he said.
Responding to Arief’s requests, Wahidin said that the Serang – Panimbang toll road will be available in 2018, whilst the Rangkasbitung – Labuan railroad will be available in 2020.
“The infrastructure development that supports KEK Tanjung Lesung is the top priority because it will make it easier for visitors who are visiting this leading tourist destination,” said Wahidin.
The province has 1,166 tourist attractions, 344 of them are natural, 591 are history and culture and 231 are man-made.
“Tourism sector is the centerpiece of Banten province. The gross regional product (PDRB) growth rate of Banten tourism from 2011 until 2015 was 7.35 percent on average,” he added.
Meanwhile, according to Irna, apart from increasing the number of tourist visits, the festival also served as a platform to improve the people’s awareness and enthusiasm in developing tourist attractions with a local touch, “This festival will improve the economic cycle of the people,” said Irna.
With the theme “Sports and Adventure” the festival combined both cultural and sports tourism for promoting Banten and Tanjung Lesung that has been named by the government as one of the 10 Priority Destinations, also known as New Balis.
Tanjung Lesung Festival Charm 2017 featured several interesting competitions such as Kolecer competition or Bebegig (scarecrow), Rhino X Triathlon that is slated to be held on September 24, MTB XC Marathon (Mountain Bike Cross Country) competition and Sunset Trail Run on September 23.
Participants of Rhino X Triathlon have to undergo 500 and 1000 meters of swimming tracks, 10-kilometer cycling track for one lap and five-kilometer running track for one lap. Locations for this competition were Beach Club, lighthouse, Sailing Club, Blue Fish, Mundi Hill, arterial road, Kalicaa Village, Bodur Beach and Golf Land.
The total investment in KEK Tanjung Lesung for 2017 has so far reached 1,838 trillion rupiahs, that includes Revati Residence for 350 billion, golf course for 150 billion and HI Project for 300 billion.
When it comes to tourist visits, in November 2016 the number of tourists visiting Banten was 510,458 people, it went up to 569,430 people in December of the same year. In July 2017, Banten was visited by 399,551 people, a significant increase from the same month last year that had 385,214 people.
Editor: Wahyu Rahmawati