President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plan to develop 10 New Balis does not immediately attract the interest of major entrepreneurs to invest in those new tourist areas, even though the development of New Bali is one of the government’s main steps in bringing in foreign exchange.
Last June, Jokowi even met with several conglomerates at the State Palace. He offered them investment opportunity in one of the New Balis: Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). Those tycoons were Chairul Tanjung (CT Corp), Tahir (Mayapada Group), Budi Hartono (Djarum Group), Peter Sondakh (Rajawali Corpora), and Hary Tanoesoedibjo (MNC Group).
However, the entrepreneurs did not fully welcome the offer. CT Corp Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hospitality and Entertainment Group Dony Oskaria said he was not interested in bringing CT Corp to invest in that tourism area. He thinks the concept and tourism ecosystem for that area is not yet clear whether for mass tourism, such as Bali, or for a more segmented market.
“If the ecosystem does not yet exist, why should we invest there?,” he said after attending a discussion entitled “Big Work to Breed New Bali” by Katadata.co.id on Wednesday (7/24).
Regarding the ecosystem, Dony even compares Bali that has many attractions with Lake Toba that is currently lacking of tourist attractions. According to him, each area should have main attractions and supporting infrastructure. “Do you want us to just staring at Lake Toba for three days and two nights? Entrepreneurs think about return of investment (RoI). If it’s forced, it won’t succeed,” he said.
Lake Toba Investment Trends in 2015-2018
Foreign Direct Investment (PMA)
Domestic Investment (PMDN)
US$ 340.2 million
Rp 584.3 million
US$ 221.4 million
Rp 838 million
US$ 250.4 million
Rp 738.3 million
US$ 114 million
Rp 698.7 million
Source: Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) data, processed by Tourism Ministry
Priority on Destinations having Complete Supporting Infrastructure
The ten new Balis designated by the government are Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Morotai (Maluku), Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi), Tanjung Lesung (Banten), Tanjung Kelayang (Belitung), Borobudur (Central Java), Bromo-Tengger-Semeru (East Java), Kota Tua-Thousand Islands (Jakarta), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara), and Lake Toba (North Sumatra).
From the 10 new Balis, the government also set four areas as priority tourist destinations. They are Labuan Bajo, Borobudur, Lake Toba, and Bromo-Tengger-Semeru.
Despite welcoming positively the development of many tourist destinations, Dony asked the government to focus more on destinations that already have access, infrastructure and attractions. The suggested destinations are Jakarta and Yogyakarta-Solo-Semarang (Joglosemar) as well as Surabaya and its surroundings (Malang-Bromo-Tengger-Semeru).
Dony, who also serves as the Head of Tourism Working Group at the National Economic and Industry Committee (KEIN), stated that tourism area management should be carried out as professionally as possible so that it resembled the management of Borobudur and Prambanan temple areas. This will affect the income of the tourist site itself.
The potential income from each tourist site is very large if it is professionally managed. Trans Studio in Cibubur, for example, is targeted to generate revenue of Rp 1.2 trillion per year. CT Corp also plans to open a number of other entertainment venues, such as Trans Studio in Bali, Trans Studio Theme Park in Cibubur, East Jakarta, and Trans Icon Surabaya superblock. “It has great potential,” he said.
Bromo-Tengger-Semeru Investment Trends
US$ 1.4 billion
Rp 5.6 trillion
US$ 723.7 million
Rp 4.6 trillion
US$ 337.3 million
Rp 15.6 trillion
US$ 230 million
Rp 2.7 trillion
Source: BKPM data, processed by Tourism Ministry