In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, the Indonesian Minister of Tourism reminded authorities how important it is to take care of the sanitation in destinations visited by tourists… A general problem that Indonesia has been facing for a long time.
Indonesia is a beautiful country with spectacular landscapes and interesting historical and cultural destinations. However, these famous places frequently visited by tourists are also generally an eyesore due to the incredible amount of garbage in the area. The common element of the historical Sultan Mahmood Palace in Medan, the Fatahillah Square in Jakarta, the Tanah Lot temple in Bali or in the markets in several small towns is… the amount of trash left and the unpleasant smells in the air…
This is a well known issue but authorities seem to turn a blind eye. But things seem to change. Indonesia Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy/Head of Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, Wishnutama Kusubandio, stressed on a visit to Lake Toba in North Sumatra the importance of sanitation in tourism destination as attempt to provide good impression and sense of comfort for tourists.
As Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will visit Lake Toba during the interval of their state visit to Indonesia on 13 March 2020, Wishnutama said in a prior meeting that sanitation in one destination was a must-considered matter besides arranging the destination itself. That way, Indonesia that is already known for its diverse nature, culture and kind people will leave tourists good impression, including to the Dutch Royals.
“The destination might be ordinary, but when it is clean, has proper toilet, safe and comfortable, it will leave deep impression. So, we have to be all out because first impression is important,” he said
Based on Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) issued by World Economic Forum (WEC) in 2019, three out of the 14 pillars of Indonesia’s tourism competitiveness assessment ranked above 100 out of 141 countries and should be a concern.
Those are environmental sustainability, tourist service infrastructure, and health and hygiene in which includes sanitation.
“I have been to Thailand and there is traditional market similar to ours. But, the place and the toilet are clean so that we can enjoy it. Therefore, sanitation is one of the focuses to concern,” he said.
After a preparatory meeting chaired by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Wishnutama with his team made a visit to Bukit Singgolom, Adat Siambat Dalam Village, and Balige Harbor as The Dutch Royals will visit those places later on.
In their state visit, a group of more than 200 people consisting of 4 ministers, business people, and journalists will escort the Dutch Royals. The presence of the group must be benefited optimally as it will be a positive promotion for Indonesian tourism, especially Lake Toba. Besides Lake Toba, they will also visit Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and Central Kalimantan.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, on the same occasion discussed about all parties who must take their role in stimulating tourism. He asked the regional government to prioritise the preparation of the Dutch Royals arrival.
Although the initial efforts is to prepare for the arrival of the Royal couple, it should not stop at that as is often the case. But that is another story and certainly a challenge!