W. Lampung set for tourism development

Oyos Saroso H.N. , The Jakarta Post , Liwa, West Lampung

West Lampung in Lampung province is a regency that is blessed with natural resources such as beautiful mountains and hills, beaches and lakes, and dense forest in the 360,000-hectare Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (TNBBS).

West Lampung is also home to beautiful and natural surroundings that have the potential to be developed for tourism.

Uniquely, West Lampung has two major cities with different climates – Liwa city, which has a cool climate, as it is located on a high elevation like Puncak in West Java, and Krui, which is hot as it is located in a coastal area.

West Lampung, with Liwa as regency capital, is actually a relatively new regency as it was founded on Aug. 16, 1991. It was previously included in North Lampung regency.

Around 15 years ago, newcomers were afraid to settle in West Lampung due to its very dense forests and access to the area resembling a buffalo wallow.

“Visitors to West Lampung would feel scared because it was very quiet and covered with forests. The asphalt road was only opened during former Lampung regent Pudjono Pranyoto’s term, former head of the Liwa Prosecutor’s Office andcurrent Deputy Attorney General for Special Crimes Marwan Effendi told The Jakarta Post.

West Lampung has significantly changed compared to 15 years ago.

Despite being a relatively new regency, it is relied upon as one of the province’s main area for tourism development. The provincial administration has dedicated it as part of the tourism “golden triangle” besides Mount Anak Krakatau in South Lampung and Way Kambas National Park in East Lampung.

In a bid to spur development in the tourism sector, the West Lampung regency administration has facilitated licensing procedures to investors, evident from an American investor who has been developing the Biha Beach and Tanjung Setia resort areas for the past few years.

The resort areas have become a surfing paradise for foreign and domestic vacationers during holidays and weekends.

The provincial administration has favored West Lampung for tourism development given its natural potential. It spans 495,040 hectares, 70 percent of which, or 326,643 hectares, are forested areas encompassing the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, conservation forests and limited production forests (HPT).

The Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park is renowned worldwide after the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization designated it as a world heritage and its repong or mata kucing (cat’s eye) forest resin from Krui has been famous in Europe since the Dutch colonial era, while coffee from West Lampung has been a prime export commodity for dozens of years.

Of West Lampung’s total area, only 30 percent or 171,247 hectares has been exploited for cultivation, of which 44,000 hectares are estates or plantation areas, 75 percent of which are coffee farms, while the remaining areas are used to grow oil palm, coconut, pepper, cacao and horticultural crops, as well as other forest commodities, such as resin, rattan and cinnamon.

Realizing the area was densely covered by forests, West Lampung declared itself as a “conservation regency” three years ago.

As a conservation regency it must make sure development in the regency is based on conservation approaches.

West Lampung Regent Mukhlis Basri said his office was committed to turning the area into a conservation regency so development and environment protection could go hand in hand.

“Every resident in West Lampung should have a sense of responsibility to the environment, failing which their existence would be threatened because the regency is largely made up of forest. Some forested areas should never be exploited, such as the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park,” Mukhlis said.

He added besides the agriculture sector, West Lampung would also rely on tourism, such marine tourism at Tanjung Setia, Biha, Labuhan Jukung and Way Jambu beaches.

All of them are white sandy beaches and renowned for their huge waves because they face the Indian Ocean.

Other tourism potentials include Ranau Lake, Mount Seminung, Mount Pesagi, white-water rafting in the Way Sebesi River, resin farm tours and hunting excursions in Tanjung Belimbing.

Mukhlis said the distance from provincial capital Bandarlampung however, was one of the drawbacks of tourism development in West Lampung as it takes around six hours to reach the place by car.

“However, we are currently working with the provincial administration to build the Pekon Serai Airport in West Lampung” he said.

“We expect it to be completed within two years to facilitate access for visitors.”

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Category: Sumatra Rainforest
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