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 Govt and Emaar ready to start work on NTB tourist site

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Gemma
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PostSubject: Govt and Emaar ready to start work on NTB tourist site   Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:18 pm

Govt and Emaar ready to start work on NTB tourist site
The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 07/10/2009 1:41 PM | Headlines

Having finally overcome obstacles with land titles and ownership in joint ventures, Dubai-based real estate giant Emaar Properties and the state-owned Bali Tourism Development Corporation are finally ready to begin work on an integrated international tourism resort in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

"We are now in the preparation of building *this tourist resort*. The groundbreaking ceremony will be held by October," Alwi Shihab, the government's special envoy to the Middle East, said Thursday at the State Ministry of State Enterprises.

Emaar signed a joint venture agreement with the Bali Tourism Development Corporation in March 2008, under which the company committed to investing US$600 million to build a tourist resort.

Besides tourist facilities, Emaar also builds luxury hotels like the Ritz Carlton and Giorgio Armani.

The project recently hit a snag after Emaar claimed the Indonesian government had failed to follow through with some of its promises, particularly to clear a 1,200 hectare square area of land required for construction.

Around 1,000 hectares has been set aside by the government for the project but still requires certification from the National Land Agency (BPN), while the remainder still belongs to local people.

A disagreement surrounding the company's investment contributions and ownership in the joint venture have also overshadowed the project.

However, while refusing to elaborate on the alleged disputes, Alwi said the government and Emaar had resolved all the problems.

"We do not need to talk about the past, as the worse parts of this project have been resolved," he said.

"The President has said that Emaar will be involved in the Visit Lombok Sumbawa 2012 program. That means the company will also play an key role toward the success of that project," Alwi said.

Tourism is among one of the country's top earning foreign-exchange sectors.

An actual investment from the cash-rich United Arab Emirates bodes well for the government's efforts to lure more companies from countries outside Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the US, the EU and all other traditional investors.

West Nusa Tenggara province, located just east of Bali, has become the central focus of the ministry's tourism programs, with a specific program aiming to draw one million tourists to the province by 2012.

The province is rich with marine life and will be developed as the center for the pearl trade and ecotourism. Famous Lombok tourist sites include Senggigi Beach, the three Gili islands, Mt. Rinjani and Lake Segara Anak.

Tourist spots in the more secluded Sumbawa Island include Mt. Tambora, Moyo Island, Jelenga Beach and Maluk Beach.

Last year, up to 6.25 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia, an approximately 13 percent increase on the prior year. (naf)
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