The government plans to build two toll roads next year to ease access to Danau Toba (Lake Toba). The development of this infrastructure aims to support the development of Danau Toba as one of Indonesia’s world class tourism destinations.
The two toll roads would cover the routes Tebing Tinggi-Siantar and Siantar-Parapat. The Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing is currently conducting a feasibility study for the development of these toll roads.
The infrastructure development for these toll roads would shorten the journey time to Danau Toba. At the moment, the journey from Medan to Danau Toba takes up to five hours.
“The two toll roads would save around an hour on the journey from Tebing Tinggi to Danau Toba,” said the ministry’s Head of Regional Infrastructure Development Hermanto Dardak, in a statement, as cited from the ministry’s official web page, Monday (1/8).
Hermanto released this statement at a traditional Batak meeting (Musyawarah Adat Batak) in the town of Parapat, in the Simalungan District of North Sumatra Province last weekend. Some 213 Batak community leaders attended the meeting.
The government also plans to up the status of some roads near Danau Toba to national roads, one of which is the 360 km Danau Toba outer ring road.
In the area surrounding Danau Toba, the Tano Ponggol Bridge connecting Samosir Island and Sumatra will be constructed in Samosir District. The Tano Ponggol Bridge has the potential to improve the economy of the people living on Samosir Island.
“The bridge was designed around three pillars, reflecting the Sumatran culture,” said Hermanto.
The ministry also has several other supporting programs, such as normalising the Tano Ponggol channel and the clearing water hyacinths from Danau Toba. In the future, there will also be a cruise available to take tourists on a tour around Samosir Island.
Hermanto added the ministry is also committed to continuously monitor the development of infrastructure that supports tourism areas, including liveable cities in the Danau Toba area.
North Sumatra Governor Teuku Erry Nuradi said North Sumatra is a multi-ethnic province that is home to at least eight local ethnic groups, six of which are from the Batak tribe. This diverse community has great potential in terms of supporting and accelerating development.
Danau Toba is one out of 10 tourist destinations currently being developed by the government. The government’s commitment to implementing this program is reflected in its establishment of an official body for each of these destinations. The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs has also come up with a master plan for this, which includes establishing Danau Toba as the Monaco of Asia.
These developments aim to increase state revenue from the tourism sector. The target is to raise revenues of up to US$20 billion by 2019, which is twice as much as last year’s revenue of $10 billion.