The Jakarta Post
An orangutan sits in the branches above a feeding station in the Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan. (Shutterstock/File)
The Tanjung Puting National Park in West Kotawaringin regency, Central Kalimantan, has been proposed as a priority tourist destination to diversity the industry and alleviate its heavy reliance on Bali.
The park is home to tropical forest that serves as the original habitat of orangutans in Indonesia.
"The Tanjung Puting National Park is currently assessed to be designated as the 11th New Bali. The [so-called] 10 New Balis consist of [destinations with] mountains, islands, ocean and beaches, but not yet forest," said East Kalimantan provincial secretary Fahrizal Fitri in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com. "Kalimantan has forests that serve as the 'lungs of the world', particularly Central Kalimantan. It is not only forest, but also home to protected species, [such as] orangutans."
Last year, the park reportedly welcomed 25,145 tourists, including 15,170 foreigners. Meanwhile, by April this year, the number of visitors had reached 16,778, of which 10,518 came from abroad.
"The Tanjung Puting National Park is a global-level tourist destination. Visitors can explore natural forest that stands on peatland. This place also has a 500,000-hectare orangutan conservation area, where around 5,000 orangutans are being cared for," Fahrizal added.
Dwisuryo Indroyono Soesilo as the Tourism Ministry's head of the marine tourism development team, said plans were in store to highlight Tanjung Puting at various events, including the 2018 Wonderful Sail to Indonesia. He is hopeful that the event's participants would have a direct impact on the local economy and effectively promote the destination to the world.
The addition of Tanjung Puting in the 'New Bali' list would complement the attractions offered by the 10 New Bali destinations: Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Bangka Belitung, Tanjung Lesung in Banten, Thousand Islands in Jakarta, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara, Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara, Wakatobi National Park in Southeast Sulawesi, Morotai in North Maluku, Mount Bromo in East Java and the Borobudur temple in Central Java.
"Tanjung Puting [National Park] will be the only destination in Kalimantan among the [New Balis]," said the head of the ministry's expert staff for Central Kalimantan tourism development, Marsetio. (kes)