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Jakarta Post

Govt faces uphill battle to make Lake Toba world-class destination

  • Riza Roidila Mufti, Norman Harsono and Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta/Medan   /   Wed, August 14, 2019   /  07:33 pm
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On Samosir, a 630-square-kilometer island located in the middle of Lake Toba, several facilities are under development and traditional houses in villages are being revitalized.(ANN/The Star/Allison Lai)

As the largest volcanic lake in the world, Lake Toba in North Sumatra has what it takes to be developed into a world-class tourist destination, especially under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo 10 new Balis initiative, which aims to boost the economy amid stagnating consumer spending and a slowing investment outlook. However, a lack of basic tourist infrastructure has become a major obstacle in fulfilling the President’s wishes, with water pollution issues and several recent boat accidents putting a dent in the lake’s reputation. Passenger boat Sinar Bangun sank in the lake last year, causing hundreds to go missing. Only six days later, KM Ramos Risma Marisi got into an accident that killed one of its crew members. For visitors of the giant lake, accessibility is also a major issue. It takes a seven-hour, 250-kilometer drive to reach the 1,130-square-km lake f...