Rabu, 29 Juni 2016

ENSURING SAFE DRIVERS DURING LEBARAN EXODUS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 29, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, will celebrate the post-fasting month Lebaran, or Eid El Fitr, on July 6.
         Of the country's over 250 million population, more than 85 percent are Muslims.
         Many Muslims usually spend the Islamic holidays with relatives in their hometowns, triggering a massive exodus from the cities.
           The number of home-bound travelers for Lebaran this year is expected to reach 17,698,484, up from 17,404,575 in 2015.
          Of the total, 4.33 million are estimated to use land transportation modes, 3.70 million will travel by ferries, 4.11 million by trains, 910 by ships, and around 4.6 million by airplanes.
        The Transportation Ministry has prepared land, sea and air transportation modes to deal with the current exodus which is locally called "mudik."   
     Some 45 thousand buses, 447 trains with 1,400 carriages, 140 ships and 529 airplanes are being operated to transport millions of Lebaran revelers.
           In fact, the home-bound exodus started on June 24 and is expected to peak on July 3.
          Last year, some 700 Lebaran travelers were killed in traffic accidents, particularly those involving motorbikes.

THIRD HOSTAGE CRISIS FORCES INDONESIA TO BAN PHILIPPINE-BOUND SHIPS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 29, 2016 (Antara) - Since March this year, Indonesia has faced three hostage incidents in the waters of southern Philippines, with the two earlier crises ending peacefully as 14 Indonesians were released safely.
         Ten Indonesian boat crew members were released on May 1 after being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf group since March 26, 2016, while the four others held captive since April 15, 2016, were set free by the same group on May 11.
          In the latest crisis, seven Indonesian ship crew members of Tugboat Charles 001 and Barge Robby 152 were abducted in two incidents, with the first occurring on June 20, 2016, at 11:30 a.m. local time and another at 12:45 p.m. local time in the Sulu Sea while on their way back from the Philippines after delivering coal cargo.
        When the incident occurred, the vessels were carrying 13 crew members, but six of them and the ships were released.  
    According to a media report, one of the hostages recently called his wife and informed her that the kidnappers had demanded a ransom of Rp20 million ringgits, or some Rp60 billion, and had threatened to kill the hostages if it was not paid.

Senin, 27 Juni 2016

REGULAR INTERACTION WITH CHILDREN, YOUTH KEY TO FIGHTING DRUG MENACE by Fardah

Jakarta, June 27, 2016 (Antara) - Most parents nowadays are too busy earning a living that they hardly find the time to lend an ear to their children and the youth, in particular.
         Such a situation is quite ironic as at this age, children and youth need people whom they could speak to and someone who can listen to their problems and give them advise, guidance, or comfort.
         If the parents often fail to give time to their children, it is likely that they might go astray or find someone else or even strangers who are willing to listen to them.
         Therefore, while commemorating International Day Against Drug Abuse on June 26, the United Nations (UN) chose the theme "Listen First" as it is believed that being heedful to children and youth is the first step to helping them grow healthy and safe.
         "Listen First" is an initiative to amass support for preventing the use of drugs that is based on science and is thus an effective investment to ensure the well-being of children and youth as well as their families and communities.
         The World Drug Report 2016 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed an increase in the number of drug users from 27 to 29 million people aged 15-64 years, and the disastrous resurgence of heroin in some regions.
         It is the first time that International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is being observed since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals last year.
         Goal 3 calls on countries to strengthen the prevention and treatment of narcotic drug abuse, end AIDS, and combat hepatitis.

Minggu, 26 Juni 2016

EMPOWERING HUMAN RESOURCES IN COASTAL REGIONS CRUCIAL FOR FISHERY DEVELOPMENT by Fardah

Jakarta, June 26, 2016 (Antara) - Possessing the world's second longest coastal line, Indonesia should invest heavily on empowering human resources in coastal regions for fishery development.  
     Since some 70 percent of its territory constitutes water, Indonesia is believed to have maritime potential worth US$1.2 trillion and is able to absorb 40 million workers.
          The contribution of the maritime sector to the country's GDP, so far, however, has only reached 30 percent. Indonesia's GDP was some $862 billion last year.
           Lawmaker Mahfudz Sidik drew comparisons between Indonesia and Japan, stating that the latter's maritime sector contributed 48.5 percent to its GDP, which is $17,500 billion. He further pointed out that Thailand's maritime sector contributed $212 billion to its GDP. 
     To boost fishery development, Sidik has called on the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry to focus on empowering the human resources in coastal regions.
         The ministry has, in fact, made significant efforts to eradicate illegal fishing and to guard the nation's maritime territory, which was not even its domain, the member of Commission IV stated recently.
         Securing the country's waters and natural resources was crucial, but it must not become the ministry's primary task as it also needed to improve the skills and knowledge of human resources to improve maritime and fishery management in order to boost the nation's fishery production, the politician of the Justice and Prosperous Party said in agreement.
        The lawmaker hoped that the human resources program will be prioritized in the ministry's working program and budget allocation.

MORE FOREIGN BUYERS SHOW INTEREST IN BALI AND BEYOND TRAVEL FAIR by Fardah

  Jakarta, June 26, 2016 (Antara)- The Bali and Beyond Travel Fair (BBTF) has received a better international recognition, as more foreign buyers participated in the third BBTF this year.
         Themed "Where The World Comes to Meet", the annual travel fair was held from June 23 to 26, in Nusa Dua, Bali, with 222 buyers from 30 countries and 154 sellers from 20 provinces participating in the event.
         Some 80 percent of the buyers were from foreign countries. The organizing committee also invited some 20 sellers from other ASEAN member countries.
         Buyers and sellers joining the BBTF were engaged in hotel, restaurant, tourism attraction, cruise, MICE, tour, villa, and spa businesses.  
    "The world is increasingly recognizing the BBTF as 80 percent of the buyers constitute international tourism businesses," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said when inaugurating the event on June 23.
         According to Yahya, the event, which brought together tourism businesses from across the world, can help to realize the government's annual target to attract 20 million foreign tourists to Indonesia by 2019.
         Chairman of the Organizing Committee I Ketut Ardana explained that of the total number of buyers, 77 were platinum ones, that could bring more than 10 thousand foreign tourists every year.  Last year, the number of platinum buyers was only 17.   
    The tourism fair has improved in terms of the amount of transactions and the quality of platinum buyers, he said.

Sabtu, 25 Juni 2016

BRISAT LAUNCHES NEW ERA OF DIGITAL BANKING INDUSTRY by Fardah

Jakarta, June 25, 2016 (Antara) - June 19 was a historic day for Indonesia's state-owned PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Tbk (BRI) when Arianespace successfully orbited BRIsat, the first satellite in the world dedicated to a financial establishment and belonging to BRI.
         The Indonesian BRIsat (Bank Rakyat Indonesia Satellite) is a communications satellite meant for banking purposes built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL) for BRI.
         BRI had signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the building and launch of the satellite with Space System/Loral, LLC (SSL) from United States and ArianeSpace from France in April 2014.
          With BRIsat, BRI is the only bank in the world to own and operate its own satellite.   
  It will provide both C-band and Ku-band coverage for Indonesia, South East Asia and North East Asia.
        The satellite will allow BRI to offer its customers fast, simple and secure access to banking services, as well as provide a complete and innovative range of business solutions.
         "BRIsat has brought about a new era in the banking and global financial industry," BRI President Director Asmawi Syam said after the launch of the satellite by the European Aerospace company.    
    The satellite has 45 transponders, of which four will be handed over to the government.
         The bank will expand "digital banking" after the launch of its satellite.

Jumat, 24 Juni 2016

INDONESIA COMMITTED TO PROTECTING RESOURCE-RICH NATUNA WATERS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 24, 2016 (Antara)- President Joko Widodo's limited cabinet meeting aboard Indonesian warship KRI Imam Bonjol in the Natuna waters, directly linked to the South China Sea, on June 23, signals the nation's commitment to maintaining its territorial sovereignty.
        KRI Imam Bonjol-383 was the same warship that had foiled an attempt by a group of Chinese fishing vessels to poach in Indonesia's exclusive economic zone in the Natuna waters on June 17 and had detained one of the vessels and its seven Chinese crew members.
        The arrest had triggered a protest by the Chinese government, which claimed that the fishing vessels were in the so-called "Chinese traditional fishing grounds," something that had never been recognized by Indonesia.
        During the rare sea trip to the Natuna waters, the president was accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan, Maritime and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and Armed Forces Chief General Gatot Nurmantyo.
        The meeting on board the naval warship was held to discuss the economic potential of the Natuna Islands, which are viewed as the country's strategic zone.  

Rabu, 22 Juni 2016

CLOSER TRADE TIES BETWEEN INDONESIA AND PHILIPPINES by Fardah

Jakarta, June 22, 2016 (Antara)- Indonesia and the Philippines, as immediate neighboring countries, have many to offers in the fields of among other things trade, culture and security.
         In fact, the Philippines is indeed a significant trade partner as its contributed around US$2.3 billion in trade surplus to Indonesia last year.
         Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Johny J Lumintang said recently that the surplus was the third largest for Indonesia in its international trade.
         Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that the country's imports from Indonesia during the period between January and December 2015 stood at $2.927 billion, while exports to Indonesia were only valued at $628.2 million.
         However, the figures declined from the previous year when Philippines' imports and exports from and to Indonesia reached $3.037 billion and $759.658 million, respectively.
         Three major Indonesian products imported by the Philippines, include automotive, coal, and coffee, with total values of $619.8 million, $519.4 million, and $208.6 million, respectively.
         There are great demands for coal for Filipino power plants, the diplomat said.

SAIRERI EXPEDITION EXPLORES PAPUA'S UNKNOWN MARITIME, FORESTRY POTENTIALS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 22, 2016 (Antara)- Going deep within kampongs, coastal regions, and forests of Papua is a unique experience as most areas of Indonesia's largest island area are yet to be explored.
         WWF Indonesia, in cooperation with the local administrations, recently concluded a 21-day Saireri Expedition aboard MV Gurano Bintang, which started on June 1, 2016, that explored and observed the social, economic, forest, and maritime environments in the districts of Yapen Islands and Biak Numfor in Papua.
         During the expedition, MV Gurano Bintang, with 35 people onboard, including the crew, sailed along the Cenderawasih Bay, which stretches 500 nautical miles, or 850 kilometers.
         The bay is known for the beautiful Cenderawasih (Paradise) bird and whale sharks. At least 31 tribes live in the Saireri communal area.          
    Rare flora and fauna as well as the unique cultures in areas around the bay have the potential to become tourist attractions. In fact, Cenderawasih Bay was popular before Raja Ampat was intensively promoted.
         The expedition was flagged off from Wasior and ended in Biak, according to Captain Bardin Tandiono, a Bajo sea gypsy man.

Sabtu, 18 Juni 2016

PROMOTING FLOWERS AND FRUIT WITH FIRST INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL IN BOGOR by Fardah


   Jakarta, June 18, 2016 (Antara) - Having gained experience in holding a national-scale flower and fruit festival three times, Bogor is now set to organize an international flower and fruit festival from November 17-20 this year, as suggested by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).
         The Bogor administration had discussed the plan with a number of relevant offices and institutions during a coordination meeting last May. 
   The city has made preparations and decided to turn the festival held at national scale last year into an international event this time, according to Deputy Mayor of Bogor, Usmar Hariman.
         Rector of the Bogor University of Agriculture (IPB) Prof Herry Suhardiyanto, who is a co-organizer, confirmed that the festival will be held next November.
         The event's aim is to boost the production and export capacity when it comes to local fruits and flowers. He is hoping that more people will now export fruit and flowers.      
      In order to boost exports, he said, the first step is to improve the quality of local fruits and flowers so that it meets international standards.

HOPES ON SECOND SIMULTANEOUS REGIONAL HEAD ELECTIONS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 18, 2016 (Antara) - Following the success of Indonesia's first simultaneous and direct regional head elections (Pilkada) last year, the nation is hoping to hold a smooth and peaceful second Pilkada set for February 15, 2017.
        Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation after China, India and the United States, has so far demonstrated mature democratic values with the country holding its first direct general election in 2004 that was conducted peacefully and smoothly.
        Several people were initially worried that the first Pilkada which took place on December 9, 2015, would be chaotic and prone to conflicts as the elections involved hundreds of candidates in so many regions. However, it turned out to be well managed.
        The House of Representatives (DPR) on June 2, 2106, passed the revision of the 2015 Regional Elections (Pilkada) Law into law despite the rejection of two political party factions over an article on the mandatory resignation of legislators who want to run for regional head positions.
         Besides, there are also two other main concerns regarding the revised law, namely the minimum amount of support required for independent candidates and requirement that the general elections must consult with the government and the results are binding.

Jumat, 17 Juni 2016

CALLS TO IMPROVE OFFICERS' SKILLS AND CAPACITY IN FORMULATING BYLAWS by Fardah

     Jakarta, June 17, 2016 (Antara)- Ensuring that regional regulations are formulated carefully and no loopholes creep in is better than being left to rectify mistakes or having to scrap such problematic bylaws repeatedly.
         Foolproof drafting of laws requires that personnel tasked for the purpose as well as regional officials who sign or supervise the implementation of the local regulations undergo continuous education and attend courses to equip themselves with the required skills.
         The Central Government, on June 13, announced that a total of 3,143 problematic bylaws were scrapped by the Home Affairs Ministry on the instructions of the head of  state, mostly for reasons that these hindered investments and licensing processes.  
    This is the highest number of regulations to be scrapped since the implementation of plans to introduce regional autonomy.
           During 2002-2009, a total of 2,246 regional regulations were scrapped, while 1,501 were scrapped during 2010-2014, and 139 from November 2015 to May 2016.
          In total, the government has revoked 7,029 regional regulations since 2002.    

Kamis, 16 Juni 2016

NEXT POLICE CHIEF EXPECTED TO INTENSIFY PROFESSIONALISM, FIGHT EXTRAORDINARY CRIMES by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 16, 2016 (Antara) - The uncertainty surrounding who would take over the reins from outgoing Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti has finally cleared after the Presidential Palace named 51-year-old Commissioner General Tito Karnavian as the sole candidate.
          President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi's) choice comes as a surprise to some people as Tito was the youngest among the candidates speculated to be nominated for the post of police chief, and he would be the country's youngest national police chief if the House of Representatives (DPR) endorses his nomination, which is most likely.
          "The nomination of Tito was a surprising move," affirmed Benny K. Harman, deputy chairman of House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs.
          "If we look at the constellation here, Tito could walk smoothly," Harman was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe.
          Vice Chairman of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas) Tjahjo Kumolo explained that Tito had met all requirements to be selected for the police's top job.
          "The primary requirement is a three-star. In terms of the legal and police system, the appointment is valid," Kumolo, concurrently home affairs minister, remarked on June 15.

Selasa, 14 Juni 2016

NONDISCRIMINATORY FIGHT LAUNCHED AGAINST ILLEGAL FISHING ACTIVITIES IN INDONESIAN WATERS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 14, 2016 (Antara)- Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has been consistent and courageous in her approach to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) activities in Indonesian waters.
         To protect the sovereignty of Indonesia's maritime territory and safeguard its marine resources, Minister Susi has vowed to continue taking firm action by destroying fishing boats or ships caught poaching in Indonesian waters, regardless of their countries of origin.          
    Indonesia's consistent stance was demonstrated in late May 2016 when the Naval ship Oswal Siahaan-354 detained Chinese fishing trawler Gui Bei Yu for poaching in the nation's exclusive economic zone in Natuna Sea, Riau Islands.
         The warship was forced to fire several warning shots against the Chinese fishing boat before finally detaining it.
         Indonesia's maritime security authorities deserve a thumbs up for their bravery in carrying out the arrest despite the presence of a Chinese government's ship.
         Various media platforms in China had reported the Chinese government's claim that the fishing vessel was operating in a "traditional fishing ground," which in fact, was not recognized internationally.
         The Indonesian government has affirmed that the area is within its territory, and therefore, it has sent a diplomatic note seeking a clarification on the "traditional fishing ground" claimed by China.

BALI ART FESTIVAL STRENGTHENS INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL FRIENDSHIP by Fardah

Jakarta, June 14, 2016 (Antara)- As one of the most famous tourist resorts in the world, Bali is a favorite place for tourists from various countries.
        At least once in a year, Bali also gathers artists from several countries in its annual cultural program called Bali Art Festival (PKB), that has been organized for 38 times so far.
        This year, eleven foreign art groups   and some 15 thousand Indonesian and foreign artists are participating in the 38th Bali Art Festival being held in Denpasar, Bali from June 11 to July 9, 2016.
        The foreign art groups and artists are from France, China, Timor Leste, Japan, Britain, Canada, Thailand, India, and the United States, among other nations.    
   "Culture is universal. Through culture, we could strengthen relations with other countries," Head of the Bali Cultural office Dewa Putu Beratha stated.
        In addition to Balinese artists as the hosts, artists from other Indonesian regions, such as Jakarta, East Java, East Nusa Tenggara, Blitar, Balikpapan, Bandung, Gunung Kidul, and Magelang, are also taking part in the festival.
        "The Bali Art Festival will feature 225 arts from Bali's districts and cities, and 15 thousand artists are expected to participate in it," Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika stated during the opening of the festival, on June 11.

Senin, 13 Juni 2016

TRANSFORMING MUSI RIVER INTO GLOBAL TOURIST ATTRACTION by Fardah

Jakarta, June 13, 2016 (Antara)- Musi River is not solely the longest river in Sumatra stretching over 750 kilometers but is also the lifeline and heartbeat of Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra Province.
         People belonging to several races and ethnicities, such as Malay, Javanese, Chinese, Arab, and Indian descends, live along and around the river, which divides Palembang into northern and southern parts.
         Their traditions and arts have enriched the culture of Palembang, which is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, and in the past, was the capital of the powerful Sriwijaya Kingdom during the period between 670 and 1375.
        The northern and southern parts of the city are connected by the Ampera Bridge, which has become the most popular icon of Palembang.
        Given the huge potential of Musi River, the city is currently mulling over a greater icon than just the Ampera Bridge, which was constructed in April 1962 and stretches 1,177 meters in length and 22 meters in width.
         The administration of Palembang plans to develop the Musi River tourism on the similar lines as Thailand's Chao Phraya River, or even transforming it into "the Venice of Indonesia."
    Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has lauded the city's plan to increase the number of tourist visits.

Sabtu, 11 Juni 2016

INDONESIA'S AMBITIOUS 35,000 MW POWER PROGRAM TO BE ACCELERATED by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 11, 2016 (Antara) - The fact that many parts of Indonesia still suffer from power shortage at night is a cause for grave concern to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).
        Power shortage at night means that quite a few Indonesian children are unable to study in their homes.
        Lack of power supply in rural areas and kampongs has also forced many small-scale and micro businesses to shut down.
        Indonesia has a comparatively low overall rate of electrification for a middle-income country. As much as 20 percent of the population representing 50 million people does not have access to electricity, according to Energypedia.
        Some 50 percent of the population in Indonesia that goes without power actually lives in already electrified areas that would need grid densification programs. Besides, many cities have experienced frequent power outages due to power shortage.      
   A limited power supply, which results in the inability to meet growing needs, is caused by the lack of power plant development at the rate of 6.5 percent as compared to the 8.5 percent growth in electricity demand over the last five years.
        A power crisis would occur within the next three to four years if special attention is not paid or no breakthrough is made, the State Utility Company (PLN) has predicted.
         Currently, the total national installed capacity is 50 thousand megawatt (MW) produced by power plants built by the PLN and private companies since the PLN's establishment.
        To address the power shortage, the government plans to increase power capacity by 35 thousand MW, as stated in the National Mid-Term Development Plan 2015-2019.

REVEALING PAPUA'S RICH BIODIVERSITY INTERNATIONALLY by Fardah

 Jakarta, June 11, 2016 (Antara) - Indonesia's eastern most island of Papua is one of the world's largest and highest tropical islands, which is incredibly diverse and different from any other on Earth.
        Papua Island, which consists of West Papua and Papua Provinces, is home to some 250 tribes that retain ancient traditional cultures, and over 250 indigenous languages and dialects.
        Having the world's remaining virgin tropical rainforests with vast biological diversity, the island is also home to endemic fauna such as possums, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, and endangered Long-beaked Echidna, in addition to birds of paradise or Cenderawasih, cassowaries, parrots, and cockatoos. It also has the world's longest lizards and largest butterflies.
       Its biodiversity includes 15000 to 20000 plant species (55 percent endemic), 2000 species of orchids, 602 species of birds (52 percent endemic), and 125 species of mammals (58 percent endemic), in addition to 223 species of reptiles and amphibia (35 percent endemic), 25 species of freshwater fish and 1200 species of marine fish, as well as an estimated 150,000 species of insects, according to the 2013 data of Papua Ecology.
        Large parts of the equatorial glacier fields in the highlands remain largely unexplored. Protected areas within Papua province include the Lorentz National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Wasur National Park, a RAMSAR wetland of international importance.
       In an effort to expose the natural uniqueness and richness, the Papua provincial government plans to invite foreign participants from four continents - America, Europe, Asia and Australia, to participate in an International Conference on Biodiversity, Eco-Tourism and Creative Economy (ICBE), from September 7 to 10, 2016.

Jumat, 10 Juni 2016

CANDIDATES FOR POLICE TOP POST STILL A PUZZLE by Fardah

Jakarta, June 10, 2016 (Antara) - Amid suggestions that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) should not extend the term of office of the outgoing Police Chief General Badrodin Haiti, the head of state said he had yet to decide on the matter.
         General Haiti will enter retirement period in July 2016. He was deputy police chief before being installed as police chief by President Jokowi on April 17, 2015, after the post was left vacant since January when the president dismissed the then police chief Gen. Sutarman, who was set to retire in October 2015.
        Now, a month before Haiti reaches retirement age, the president is still considering feedback from various parties on police chief candidates and the possibility of extending Haiti's term.
         The president has the prerogative to decide whether to replace General Haiti or to extend his term.
          "For sure, I will listen to feedback from the National Police (Polri), the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), and the community. Certainly, in reaching a decision, I will abide by the existing rules and laws," Jokowi stated recently.

Rabu, 08 Juni 2016

INDONESIAN CYBER AGENCY TO CURB RAMPANT CYBER ATTACKS by Fardah

Jakarta, June 9, 2016 (Antara) - Lacking adequate cyber security, Indonesia is in a state of emergency following increasing incidents of cyber attacks mostly from within the country.
          Indonesia is ranked second among countries where cyber attacks are launched and is the most prone to them, according to the office of the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.
          Last year, the country had witnessed a fourfold increase in cybercrimes from 2014. 
    Cyber attacks in Indonesia rose 33 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut B. Pandjaitan stated recently.
         In 2013, the quarterly State of the Internet Report by Akamai Technologies revealed that Indonesia had seen a massive increase in the number of cybercrimes and hacking attacks, so much so that Indonesia had pushed China out of the top spot for the Q2 2013 period.
         Prevalence of cybercrimes and hacking in Indonesia was partially attributed to its lack of laws governing such crimes, the report said.

Jumat, 03 Juni 2016

INDONESIA HAS HUGE POTENTIAL IN HALAL TOURISM by Fardah

Jakarta, June 3, 2016 (Antara) - As the world's largest Muslim majority country, Indonesia has a lot to offer to foreign as well as domestic Muslim travelers.
        The tourism ministry is developing halal tourism in various provinces and is particularly targeting Middle Eastern tourists, a sector that has so far remained untapped.
          According to data, tourists from the Middle East account for some 140 million annual trips, mostly to Europe.
         As for Southeast Asia, Middle Eastern tourists prefer to travel to Malaysia and Thailand, instead of Indonesia.
         The ministry has held halal tourism promotional activities over the last one month, including in Jakarta from May 10-12, 2016; Banda Aceh, from May 18-20, 2016; Padang, West Sumatra, from May 23-25, 2016; and Makassar (South Sulawesi), from May 30-June 1, 2016.
         A similar event will be organized in Bandung, West Java, from June 2-4.
         Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has set up a team to accelerate the development of halal tourism.  The team has formulated development and marketing strategies to boost halal tourism.