TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Fires that raged through the land and forest areas in several provinces in Indonesia over the past few months have not affected the tourism sector, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.
Despite the fires, many foreign tourists are still visiting various tourist destinations in the country, he said after attending the commemoration of the South Kalimantan provincial government's 69th anniversary.
"Until now, we have not received any report about the impact of land fires on national tourism. Everything is running as usual," he said.
This could be the result of the work of the firefighters in putting out the land and forest fires in a quick and more integrated way, he said.
"In the previous years, land and forest fires disrupted the tourism sector. But this year, the impact has not been felt," he said.
Minister Yahya was in South Kalimantan on a four-day working visit during which he inspected a number of tourist sites in the province that can be developed into national tourist destinations.
He said South Kalimantan has extraordinary and unique tourism potential and that he believed the tourism sector in the province will grow rapidly.
The tourist sites include Meratus Geopark that has been declared a national geopark and other places which could be developed to aid the international tourism industry, he said.
"We agree that South Kalimantan is one of the world's tourist destinations," he said.
South Kalimantan Governor, Sahbirin Noor, asked the local residents to work hard to make the region better.
"Let us work hard. Don't be lazy to promote common prosperity," he said, regarding the tourism promotion.