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3 World Halal Tourism Awards, West Sumatra Ready to Welcome Saudi Arabia’s Investment

West Sumatra (West Sumatra) may get an injection of investment funds from Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the state visit of the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud to Indonesia, March 1-9, 2017. Overall, the investment funds to be disbursed are estimated at around 25 billion US dollars.

Investments that will be made by Saudi Arabia include the oil and gas, tourism and housing sectors. Head of the Halal Tourism Development Acceleration Team (TP3H) of the Ministry of Tourism Riyanto Sofyan estimates that of the amount to be invested, at least 40 percent will touch the tourism sector. “Because the results obtained from investment are faster than oil and gas and housing,” said Riyanto Sofyan, Wednesday (1/3) in Jakarta.

After all, he said, the tourism sector provides more benefits than other industries. Also, there are many business derivatives that can be worked on such as food supply, creative economy, handicrafts and so on. “It’s all export-worthy, dollar-worth and the goods don’t have to go out because of the tourists who come here. So, when viewed from the benefits, tourism can be a locomotive of economic development, “said Riyanto.

West Sumatra has bagged three titles in the World Halal Tourism Award last year. The area won awards in the World’s Best Halal Culinary Destination, World’s Best Halal Destination and World’s Best Halal Tour Operator categories. “Seeing that, West Sumatra actually has great halal tourism potential. Development carried out in the area is also relatively easier, “said Riyanto Sofyan.

Head of the West Sumatra Tourism Office, Oni Yulfian, admitted that he was ready to accommodate King Salman’s plan to invest in the Pagaruyung Kingdom. “We are ready to facilitate because the investment has a tremendous impact on the economy of the local community, at least they need labor,” Oni Yulfian told Republika in Jakarta, Tuesday (28/2).

Oni said, the investment that will be made by Saudi Arabia will later be used to advance the halal tourism sector. West Sumatra is indeed intensifying the potential of the halal tourism sector in its area.

Oni revealed that currently the local government is intensively conducting socialization related to the potential of halal tourism to the local community. The tourism ministry, he said, is instilling the concept of halal tourism, opportunities and what to do related to tourism. “Standardization and certification also continue to be pursued for business actors. This is to provide guarantees related to tourist sites that meet Islamic law, “said Oni.

Oni said, West Sumatra has extraordinary tourism potential. “Not only in terms of the beauty of natural tourism but also seeing the cultural richness owned,” said Oni.

Indeed, there is no official information on which tourism sector will be given an injection of funds from the Arab King. Oni said, looking at the archipelago’s halal destinations and the background of investors from Muslim countries, halal tourism is a relevant field to work on. “Investment from Muslim countries certainly leads to halal, that’s the logic and it should be too,” he said.

Oni said, if the investment funds really fall to West Sumatra, the local government (local government) will make infrastructure improvements in a number of locations. The local government will also train the community to be able to receive tourists and be ready to work in the tourism sector. “That’s if they are serious, we will definitely prepare them,” he said.


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