TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia Halal Tourism Association (PPHI) chief Riyanto Sofyan said PPHI is focusing on five, out of the 10, priority destinations for halal tourism; namely Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Aceh, West Sumatra, Jakarta, and West Java.
"The top three are Lombok, Aceh, and West Sumatra. Including Jakarta and West Java to make it five," he said at JCC, Jakarta, Friday, Nov. 15.
Riyanto said Indonesia, as the country with the biggest Muslim-majority population, has a big potential in halal tourism. He, therefore, suggested that it should be utilized as an economic driver.
He explained that the market of the halal tourism sector in Indonesia has only reached 20 percent. Riyanto said that it could be improved by providing Muslim-friendly facilities such as halal-certified hotels and restaurants.
"Those should be continually improved so we can grab the market," he said, adding that tourism is the only economic sector that is not affected by the US-China trade war.
Riyanto hoped that the halal tourism industry could be continuously developed, so Indonesia will not depend much on trade.
Previously, the news saying Bali and Lake Toba will become halal tourist destinations became the talk of the public before Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama denied it.
"A tourist destination is built based on the local wisdom and culture of the region, so it will become an extraordinary attraction for tourists," the minister said in a press release on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Wishnutama said the focus of his ministry is to develop tourist destinations, especially Bali and Toba, based on its local wisdom since what attracts the visitors are those with multicultural backgrounds.
EKO WAHYUDI l FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA