Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indonesian government to invest up to $500 million in the Southeast Asian country’s tourism sector, according to local media reports. Under the MoU, QIA will invest the capital in a series of ongoing projects within Indonesia’s top 10 priority destinations, more famously known as the “10 New Balis”.
These destinations, which include Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi and Morotai in North Maluku, have been identified to help make tourism the largest contributor to Indonesian GDP by 2030. The MoU also allows QIA to invite other co-investors to join the project.
The MoU was signed by Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, and QIA chief executive, HE Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani. “I am sure this partnership, along with commitments from both parties, will benefit not only our two governments but also Indonesians living close to these destinations. I hope QIA will begin to implement its investment plans in Indonesia soon,” Pandjaitan said. Al-Thani said the investment presents “an exciting opportunity for QIA to grow our strong portfolio of tourism-related investments around the world”.
Qatar Investment Authority was founded in 2005 to strengthen the country’s economy by diversifying into new asset classes. It has previously expressed interest in investing in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.
The Mandalika project
In the previous year, there were several official reports on how the Indonesian government was planning to duplicate the tourism success in Bali in other small places across the country. One of the identified places for this project was Mandalika on Lombok Island.
In order to put this effort into fast drive, the government also introduced a visa-free tourism policy which covered inbound travelers coming from more than a 100 different countries. Clearance approval was also eliminated for yachts entering the Indonesian territory and the cabotage policy was deregulated for international cruise ships.
Slowly and steadily, Lombok, located in West Nusa Tenggara, has grown to become extremely popular with international students, and Mandalika area even with greater fame. This suggests a Central Statistics Agency (BPS) report. Over 7, 3000 foreign tourists traveled to Indonesia in March 2016 indicating an increase of 22.52 percent when compared to the travel statistics from March 2015.