President Jokowi has indentified Lake Toba in Northern Sumatra as one of the prime destinations in his plan to develop tourism across Indonesia. In an attempt to transplant the success of Bali in other areas equally rich in cultire, landscapes and tourism potential, Toba has been earmarked for development and labeled ‘the Monaco of Indonesia’.
Infrastructure and the quality of the roads connecting the area have been identified as the major obstacles in the goverenment plan to turn Lake Toba into a world-class destination. To overcome these issues, two new toll roads are planned to connect Tebing Tinggi with Siantar and Siantar to Parapat; a 360-kilometer ring road around Lake Toba as well as a new bridge to the island of Samosir, located in the middle of the lake. Building work on the projects is scheduled to begin next year and is expected to be concluded within two years.
Jokowi himself was in Toba for the annual Indonesian independence day carnival on August 20™, where he took the opportunity to outline his plans and also express the imperative need for progress in the development of infrastructure throughout the region: “I ask the ministries in charge to realize the construction of the Lake Toba ring road. if the roads are damaged, tourists will not want to come”, said the president during his visit to Simanndo on Samosir. “The construction of the projects will help increase the welfare of the local people,” he added.
Lake Toba is one of 10 tourism destinations prioritized and promoted by the government this year, along with the Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi, Tanjung Lesung in Banten and Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara.