Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have agreed to promote tourism in the Malacca Strait, Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla stated here on Tuesday.
He noted that this was one of the agreements reached during the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) meeting.
"There are tourism spots in the Malacca Strait such as Langkawi (Malaysia), Phuket (Thailand), and Bintan through Sabang (Indonesia). It is hoped that there will be an improvement," he remarked during a press conference after attending the IMT-GT meeting at the Langkawi Convention Center on the Malaysian island of Langkawi.
He noted that in order to boost tourism in the three areas, inter-island connectivity will be prioritized by the concerned countries.
"Connectivity will be improved. Each country will operate shipping and airline services between the three areas," he emphasized.
Kalla stated that a planned transportation service using a roll-on roll-off vessel will become operational next year to connect Sabang and Langkawi.
Besides tourism, he pointed out that the three countries will also enhance cooperation over the Strait in view of its importance.
"Just now, it was decided to increase all forms of cooperation so far especially on how to improve tourism in the three areas because they all have extraordinary potential and to connect the areas in terms of transportation and energy," he noted while referring to the proposal of shared electricity between Malaysia and Sumatra, Indonesia.
"It (sharing electricity) is still being discussed between Sumatra and Malaysia especially through Riau and Malaka with the latter using the supply in the day and Sumatra at night, and so, there will be an interconnection," he emphasized.
The Indonesian vice president stated that in terms of economic cooperation, the three countries will moreover benefit ahead of the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community next year.
Indonesias chief economic minister remarked that trade in the Malacca Strait region has increased quite significantly.
"Although it was still relatively small in 2012, it already recorded almost half a billion US dollars worth of transactions, and in 2014, more than US$600 million," he affirmed.
Kalla admitted that the low value of trade in the region was due to the similar commodities produced in the three areas.
"We produce the same commodities. We all have palm oil and rubber, and so, the service sector needs to be stepped up besides tourism and investment," he emphasized.
He was optimistic that following the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community, there will be higher economic growth as the member countries strive to improve their competitiveness and efficiency. (Antara)