PRESIDENT Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inspected the Likupang area which is located in North Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi, Thursday (01/19), 2023. In his statement after the inspection, according to a press release received in Jakarta, the President hopes that all tourist destinations that were previously affected by the pandemic can recover soon and normal.

“All countries, all tourist destinations, all tourist destinations experience the same thing. However, recovery in Indonesia is much faster. Now Bali is full of tourists, even though it’s not like pre-pandemic, but it’s more than 60-70%. In other places it is the same. We hope that it will return to normal as soon as possible so that all of our tourist destinations can recover or improve more than before the pandemic,” said the President.

Likupang is one of the super priority destinations (SPD) set by the government besides Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur in Central Java, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara. As SPD, the government is also preparing supporting infrastructure, such as airports to access roads.

“The infrastructure in North Sulawesi, both the airport and the airport, have been repaired and are now ready to accommodate a large number of terminals. Then from the airport to Likupang you can go by land, some of which have been repaired. I think it’s far from before compared to before, now it’s already seamless,” he remarked.

Apart from the land route, the government is also preparing a sea route that can speed up the travel time from the city to Likupang to only 15-20 minutes. The President believes this will also attract investors to invest in Likupang.

“This can attract investment, attract investors and we hope that like JW Marriot, this five-star (hotel) will not only be one, but later there will also be other four-star, three-star or resort ones, all in the Likupang area,” he added.

The Head of State is optimistic that the Likupang area will be crowded with foreign tourists, both from Europe and from Asian countries such as China, Japan and Korea. Moreover, starting in February 2023 direct flights from China will re-open.

The President believes the tourism sector will further enhance North Sulawesi’s economic growth.

“Tourists from China, from China have started to reopen in February. There are three or four planes that will return starting in early February and these are the ones from Singapore already. I think this will return to normal. This means that North Sulawesi is supported from the agricultural side, supported tourism, that would be great,” President Jokowi explained.

Accompanying the President when visiting the Likupang area were Cabinet Secretary, Pramono Anung, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, Basuki Hadimuljono, North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey, and North Minahasa Regent Joune Ganda. [antaranews]