JAKARTA: Clean toilets and adequate water supply are key to ensuring Indonesia meets the proper standards to support the tourism sector.
The country needs to raise health and hygiene standards, particularly at tourist attractions, where there was still room for improvement.
According to The Jakarta Post, this was revealed by the Public Works and Housing Ministry’s human settlements director-general, Danis Sumadilaga.
He said the government was focused on ensuring the cleanliness of public toilets as well as the quality of sanitation facilities at tourist hotspots nationwide.
This was the top priority in a meeting at the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Ministry, where issues on hygiene, health, sanitation and clean water at tourist destinations were brought up, Danis said on Wednesday.
Indonesia ranked 40 out of 140 countries in the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019.
This was an upgrade from a rank of 42 in 2017 and 50 in 2015.
In health and hygiene however, the country ranked 102.
“We should improve hygiene and health, as well as clean water and sanitation.
“It was identified that hygiene and the condition of toilets remained a great concern in some areas at several tourist destinations,” Danis said.
“We will work to make them (sanitation facilities) better, especially public toilets.
“We will also build clean water access.”
He said the ministry was installing clean water systems and waste management facilities at several tourist destinations.
“For example, we are building a waste incinerator in Labuan Bajo and developing clean water systems in several areas.”
President Joko Widodo had expressed hope that the tourism industry could play a greater role in creating jobs and raking in foreign reserves.
The government introduced five “super-priority” tourist destinations as its core tourism development programme.
The five super-priority destinations are Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara and Likupang in North Sulawesi.
Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies chairwoman Elly Hutabarat, who has been campaigning for a “total facelift” in hygiene in order to attract more tourists, voiced her concerns over the quality of sanitation facilities at tourist destinations.
“Hygiene and cleanliness are essential.
“This is a basic issue but if we fail to deal with it, it could (rebound) on our tourist destinations,” she said.
Elly hoped the government would put more effort into hygiene and health at tourist destinations by ensuring that public toilets and restaurants were of international standards.
“Because I’m sorry to say (that) right now, the cleanliness of many sanitation facilities at tourist destinations in Indonesia have yet to meet international standards.”