COORDINATING Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the COVID-19 pandemic was not an obstacle to continuing to develop the Lake Toba tourist area, North Sumatra. This was demonstrated by the awarding of compensation for Lake Toba’s land acquisition authority and the erection of the first pillar of the development of 10 Lake Toba Tourism Area tourism villages.

“These two achievements are evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic is not an obstacle for us to be able to do. The process of solving the land problem has also been started since 2018. I am grateful that the compensation fund of IDR26 billion for the people on the 279-hectare land is can be distributed,” said Luhut in a written statement in Jakarta.

He added, I think this is a very good step that the government cares for its people. With the completion of the problems in this first phase of land, I hope that the development and investment process can proceed quickly.

“This will certainly accelerate the development of tourism so that the impact can be felt immediately by the people. The Lake Toba region has been designated as a priority destination, so accelerating development in this region is the main thing,” he noted.

He explained, the development was not only infrastructure, but also the socio-cultural aspects of the community and environmental aspects of sustainability.

Luhut gave high appreciation to the ranks of PT Pertamina for their support through the construction of international standard toilets in the Lake Toba tourism area, the development of processed village products to increase community capacity, and the distribution of fuel to villages through Pertamina’s small-scale distribution agencies or Pertashop.

In addition, appreciation was also given by Luhut to the director of PT Pegadaian for the program to sort out the gold saving trash, and the provision of trash facilities in 10 Lake Toba Tourism Villages which was a new breakthrough.

“It was also considered aimed at increasing public awareness of environmental cleanliness and the success of the Indonesia Clean 2025 program. I hope that we can maintain the facility, so that the facility is maintained, the system is built so that it can be utilized,” he said.

Luhut reminded that cleanliness is the most important key in tourism because foreign tourists will come if they see the area ready and clean. Although it has been built with a large enough fund, but if it is not maintained and not clean, tourists will not be interested in visiting for the second time. [antaranews/photo special]