The Jakarta Post
Dutch King Willem-Alexander has expressed interest in assisting in the development of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, which is among the Indonesian government’s top five destinations prioritized to boost tourism, a minister has said.
The king and Queen Maxima visited the world's largest volcanic lake and the surrounding area on Thursday as part of their itinerary during the four-day state visit to Indonesia.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said the royal couple were very pleased to visit Lake Toba and that they had indicated an interest in helping Indonesia to develop the tourist magnet.
"We will speak about the details with [Dutch] ministers. In general, the king and queen are amazed by the beauty of Lake Toba," Wishnutama told journalists after accompanying the Dutch royals in visiting Lake Toba and its surroundings on Thursday.
The minister went on to say that his office was ready to collaborate with its Dutch counterpart in various aspects, including for joint promotion to lure more tourist visits from the Netherlands, as he believed that the Dutch monarchs' visit would have a positive impact on North Sumatra's tourism.
The king and queen started their journey on Thursday by briefly visiting Singgolom Hill at Lintong Ni Huta village in Tampahan district, Toba regency, during which they took photos with Lake Toba in the background.
They also visited Siambat Dalan hamlet -- a traditional Batak village -- where the Dutch royals were welcomed with the gondang batak traditional dance and clothed in ulos, a type of traditional fabric that is the pride of North Sumatra, by the local cultural head.
In the village, the king and queen also entered hundreds-years-old wooden traditional houses that are still used by the locals, and witnessed the process of manual ulos weaving. They also enjoyed the traditional Batak tor-tor dance and engaged with local cultural figures as well as residents.
From Siambat, the Dutch monarchs visited the DEL Technology Institute in Balige and later took a speedboat to visit Ecovillage Silima Lombu at Onan Runggu, Samosir Island.
Samosir regent Rapidin Simbolon welcomed the king and queen by presenting them with ulos clothes and a traditional lute.
“We hope that King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are happy to visit Samosir, although we could only give ulos and a lute. These are sincere gifts from the Samosir citizens,” Rapidin said, adding that he hoped the royals' visit could help attract more European tourists to visit the area.
North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi concurred with Rapidin, saying that the province was honored with the Dutch monarchs' visit to Lake Toba.
“With the Dutch king and queen's visit, we hope Lake Toba will become more known to the world as a tourist destination," Edy said, "We hope more foreign tourists are attracted and will pay a visit to Lake Toba, which subsequently will boost the local economy." (gis)