According to Indonesian media reports, the Indonesian Government intends to give the Tanjung Gunung and Sungailiat former mining areas a new lease of life as tourism special economic zones.

Located on the eastern coast of Sumatra’s Bangka Island, the two areas would become the next such zones in the Bangka-Belitung (Babel) Province after Tanjung Kelayang on Belitung Island, which is currently undergoing an accelerated development.

Following the downturn of the mining industry in Bangka, which was one of the major econ=omic contributors to the Island, developing a healthy economic alternative such as tourism, is deemed vital to the region’s survival.

Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s minister of tourism, was quoted in the TTG Asia as saying that the economic development in Babel Province between 2012 and 2016 was relatively stagnant with farming, forestry and fishery as the dominating sectors, while mining declined from 15.4 per cent in 2012 to 12per cent 2016. During this time, the transportation sector was on the rise.

“Babel has to transform its economy from mining to tourism, and this transformation has to start from the commitment of its CEO (the governor) to become the agent of change”, said Arief.

According to reports, the Tanjung Gunung Tourism Resort developer, Pan Semujur Makmur, is investing US$121.5 million in the preliminary development of the area, with plans to transform Tanjung Gunung into a business events destination.

Meanwhile, the 273ha Sungailiat East Coast Tourism Resort plans to promote its beaches, and culture and religious tourism. Development plans include hotels, marine tourism, sports and agrotourism amenities.

Erzaldi Rosman Djohan, governor of Babel, said the regional government would also ease licensing processes and provide incentives for investors.

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