Monday, 10 November, 2008 | 18:47 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The lack of adequate infrastructure and facilities for maritime tourism in the Thousand Islands is the reason why businesspeople are reluctant to invest in the area. A few resorts on the islands have even been closed down due to the high operational costs caused by the inadequate facilities.
"The funds spent on the business do not match the income," said Jakarta's Maritime Tourism Businessmen Association chairman, Erik Jaya Saputra, yesterday.
According to Erik, government's support for the businessmen has been insignificant, and they had to provide their own facilities, such as electricity. He accused the government of discriminating them because it provides electricity and cheap transportation for islands managed by provincial administrations.
"This has caused a difference in the rates," he said, which makes tourists go to resorts managed by the government. "This is unhealthy competition," said Erik, who had to sell one of his boats, measuring 50 feet, to cover the operational costs in the Sepa Island where he operates.
Meanwhile state-run Untung Jawa Island, offers affordable home stays, cheap transportation and electricity supplied through under-sea cables, Erik said.
Based on the Maritime Tourist Businessmen Association data, from the entire 11 resorts managed by private companies in the Thousand Island, only five of them are currently operational. They are the islands of Sepa, Bidadari, Putri, Air dan Kotok Kulkul. Pantara Island only receives groups of visitors.
Thousand Island regent Rahman Andit confirmed that investors are not eager to invest in the islands. More than 30 percent of islands in the Thousand Island are left unmanaged. "Around 36 islands which have the potential to become resorts, are undeveloped," he said yesterday. These islands include Kotok, Genteng, and Macan islands.
According to Rahman, the development of resort or tourist destinations is essential if the province is to earn income and provide job opportunities. As such, the provincial administration only accrues taxes from land and buildings (PBB). "If more resorts were built, we would be able to impose taxes on entertainment and restaurants."