Jakarta:- The Tourism Ministry of Indonesia plans to develop West Sumatra as a halal tourist hub to attract more tourists from rich Muslim countries, such as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said at a coordination meeting with 19 regents and mayors in Padang, West Sumatra, on May 12, that the province had many advantages in the tourism sector, including being home to the most delicious dish in the world, rendang ( beef simmered in coconut milk and spices ), according to a poll held by CNN International years ago.
Marine tourism in Mandeh in West Sumatra, is among the potential destinations to be developed in the region.
“Mandeh has tremendous potential. It is like the Raja Ampat in Papua. It can be developed for marine tourism,” the ministry’s priority tourist destination development task force head, Hiramsyah S. Thaib, said, adding that the ministry was constructing direct access from Minangkabau International Airport in Ketaping, Padang to Mandeh.
The ministry also plans to open more direct flight routes from airports in neighboring countries Malaysia and Singapore to Padang.
The government aims to attract 5 million Muslim tourists from the Middle East and other parts of the world in the next three years, more than double the 2 million expected this year, Arief said previously.
He added that Indonesia, which has become a top tourist destination for travelers from OIC countries, would provide more halal tourist destinations to further lure more tourists from the region.
Originally published on the www.thejakartapost.com