Indonesia’s tourism investment stalls in tangle of red tape

JAKARTA – Efforts by Indonesia’s president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to relieve pressure on Bali’s tourism infrastructure by creating a series of ‘new Balis’ is being thwarted by too-strict regulations and super-slow bureaucracy, investors claim.

Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Bahlil Lahadalia said investors are attracted to the tourism sector but become “entangled in strange regulations”.

Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur temple in Central Java, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara are among 10 destinations being targeted for development.

However, red tape and regulatory bottlenecks continue to turn off investors, the Jakarta Post reports.

The Tourism Ministry says it is not to blame for investment holds-up, instead claiming land permits in particular were “extremely difficult” to obtain.

Others are blaming delays on inconsistencies between regional authorities and the involvement of several ministries in the granting of development licences.

Former tourism minister Arief Yahya said the country needed 120,000 more hotel rooms, 15,000 more restaurants, 100 more recreational parks, 100 more diving operators, 100 more marinas, 100 more tourism SEZs and 100,000 more homestays to boost tourist arrivals from 2019 to 2024.