Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli urged the provincial government of Jakarta to build a larger airport for the Thousand Islands to support maritime tourism in the region.
"The current airport has 800-metre-long runways. These runways should be extended to 1,500 meters so that a large aircraft can land at the airport. Tourists can then immediately get on a ship or yacht to visit the surrounding area," Rizal Ramli said here on Wednesday.
Ramli also asked the Ministry of Transport to build several ports to enable tourists to board a boat or yacht that will take them to tourist sites across the Thousand Islands.
"A task force will implement the plan and prepare the budget," Ramli said.
On the occasion, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said he would construct the airport on Long Island, Thousand Islands, which has been in operation since 1998.
"On Long Island, there is an airport. We want to develop it," Purnama stated.
He pointed out that the auction process can be started this year to allow the project to be constructed next year.
To develop the airport, the Jakarta government will cooperate with the private sector on projects such as island reclamation and the development of villas around the island.
The local government is planning an auction method that will attract private parties to build, maintain, and operate the airport as well as implement the reclamation project on the island.
"We will develop it, but the formula for the auction system has not yet been finalized," he said.
Earlier this year, the tourism ministry set aside Rp100 billion to promote Jakarta.
"The funds will be added next year. But the main focus is to make Jakarta a global hub. We will promote Jakarta and its surrounding areas as the Great Jakarta," Tourism Minister Yahya said.
According to him, as a hub as well as a major tourist destination, Jakarta would enjoy many advantages. He cited a number of hub cities, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, or Singapore.
"If tourists come to Jakarta, they will receive information on Tanjung Lesung. It is good for the tourists," Yahya remarked.
He added that the number of tourists visiting Jakarta this year has just reached 2.5 million, while Bangkok, Thailand, has reported 16 million tourists (Antara)