Given its numerous tourist attractions, the Indonesian province of Lampung has been encouraged to develop its tourism sector as an important source of foreign exchange and employment.
The rapid expansion of the tourism sector in Lampung is expected to provide viable opportunities for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
Accordingly, the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Environment, Dwisuryo Indroyono Susilo, also urged the Lampung provincial administration to intensively develop and promote its tourism sector.
During a visit to the Lampung Museum in the provincial capital of Tanjungkarang on Friday, the minister expressed optimism about the fact that the museum can serve as a historical tourism asset that would attract both domestic and foreign tourists.
"I just wanted to see how good the museum is. Its collection is very interesting and significant for our historical heritage," Susilo remarked.
He noted that Lampung is very famous across the world because of the Krakatau island volcano, one of the most fascinating sites globally; and for agricultural commodities, such as pepper and coffee.
Given its central location, the Krakatau islands are accessible both from Jakarta through the province of Banten, and from Bandarlampung, the capital of the Lampung province.
The Krakatau islands are comprised of three small and beautiful islands: Rakata, Panjang, and Serdang.
The minister remarked that besides Krakatau, Lampung also has many other tourist attractions that have to be developed properly in order to draw domestic and foreign tourists.
In an effort to boost the number of tourist visits, the minister said the government will allow international cruise ships to pass through Lampung and anchor near the tourist attractions in the province.
"The government will allow the cruise ships to make a port call at Lampung for three or four days to enable the tourists to see as many tourist attractions as possible in the province," he remarked.
Susilo also noted that infrastructure and other supporting facilities on the islands should be improved in order to facilitate tourists journey to their desired destinations in Lampung.
"Good roads and transportation, electricity, and security must be improved so that the tourists visiting these spots can enjoy the experience and feel at home," the minister stated.
He also encouraged the Lampung provincial administration to make every effort to step up its international tourism potential to boost foreign tourist arrivals.
The provincial culture and tourism departments investment promotion agency spokesman Gatot Hudi Utomo said numerous private parties will be involved in the effort to ramp up the international tourism potential of the province.
Utomo pointed out that Lampung province has more than 150 tourist sites, but most of them are yet to be optimally managed.
"We will work towards optimizing the international tourism potential of the province," Utomo said, adding that the coastal areas in Lampungs Barat district offer good surfing opportunities for tourists and that infrastructure facilities in the province need to be improved accordingly.
"Besides, the tourism promotion agency should play a greater role in drawing as many foreign tourists as possible to Lampung," he stated.
With its white sandy beaches, pristine waterfalls, and lush nature preserves, Lampung is one of the many provinces in Indonesia that holds great appeal for international tourists.
The Elephant Rehabilitation Center in Way Kambas, where wild, rampaging elephants are domesticated and taught useful skills, also offers a special attraction for visitors.
Shaped in different ways by the impact and eruption of the Krakatau volcano eons ago, the beautiful beaches of Merak Belantung, Pasir Putih, and a tourist resort near the Lalaan waterfall and Mount Rajabasa are also worth visiting.
Meanwhile, Lampung Barats culture and tourism office's chief for promotion Riady Andrianto said a number of tourist spots in the district are being readied to cater to as many tourists as possible this year.
According to him, the Lampung Barat district government has always welcomed tourists, but this year it has made additional efforts to lure even more domestic and foreign travelers.
In a bid to make the vacationers feel at home, Andrianto said many tourist spots in Lampung Barat have hired more workers to render optimum services, a sense of comfort, and to ensure the security of visitors.
Andrianto said one of the tourist attractions in Lampung Barat is the Tanjung Setia Beach in the Pesisir Selatan sub-district. It has natural panoramic views and challenging waves that will enable foreign tourists to go surfing.
He added that the cool and crystal clear sea waters of Tanjung Setia are also tempting for foreign holidaymakers.
Besides Tanjung Setia, Lampung Barat also has other tourist spots worth exploring, such as the Labuhan Jakung Beach, Pulau Pisang, Lake Ranau, the Way Besai rafting resort, and the Sekura Cakak Buah cultural festival.
Hudaibi pointed out that the Lampung Barat district also offers white water rafting for both domestic and foreign tourists.
"Lampung Barat has a river that has good potential for rafting and therefore we offer it to both domestic and foreign tourists, who love water sports," Hudaibi said.
He added that the swirling current of the river holds a special attraction for tourists, who want to test their courage by trying surfing.
According to him, the Way Besay river in the Bumberjaya sub-district is also perfect for water sports-loving tourists.
"Most of the rivers here are good for water and adventure sports, and could draw many domestic and foreign tourists to West Lampung," Hudaibi said.
He added that the local government will continue to intensify the development of the historical tourist areas at numerous locations in the district.
Hudaibi reiterated his optimism about West Lampungs tourism competing with other tourist destinations across the country because the district has a lot of natural potential, such as agriculture, plantation, and numerous tourism attractions. (Antara)