Indonesia unveils ecotourism concept for new capital city

IKN Authority head Bambang Susantono assure media representatives that tourism would not damage the local ecosystem.

Ruth Dea Juwita

Ruth Dea Juwita

The Jakarta Post


Construction continues at the site of the administrative centre of the country’s new capital, Nusantara, in East Kalimantan on June 8, 2023. PHOTO: ANTARA/THE JAKARTA POST

August 2, 2023

JAKARTA – The Nusantara Capital City (IKN) Authority has revealed its vision for ecotourism in the new city, embracing a sustainable urban forest concept.

IKN Authority head Bambang Susantono assured media representatives in a briefing with the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry on Monday that the green space covering 65 percent of the capital area of 256,000 hectares would not be reduced and that tourism would not damage the local ecosystem.

Instead, the focus would be on innovative development aimed at establishing Nusantara as a distinctive tourist destination, he said, proposing “Indonesia X” as a brand for the tourism program.

The IKN Authority explained that the 65 percent of IKN declared as green space would be “restored” to its lush forest state reminiscent of the 1970s to 1980s, so that people could coexist with flora and fauna, making the land a captivating tourist attraction for people from around the country, true to its name Nusantara.

Bambang mentioned trekking, exploring the forest and checking out the mangroves as possible activities for visitors to the new city.

The initiatives, he continued, would be connected with other tourist activities in East Kalimantan, incorporating visits to the Dayak Penyah cultural village, tourist spots in Tenggarong, marine tourism on Derawan Island and a journey to the nation’s capital, which could be accessed via the newly constructed toll road to Samarinda.

On the same occasion, Nusantara undersecretary for social, cultural and community empowerment Alimuddin announced on Monday the availability of 17 cabins to accommodate travelers, along with the opportunity to explore the mangrove forests as part of the region’s diverse tourist destinations.

The authority also highlighted the “accidental” tourism at the capital city’s point zero, which has attracted a surge of local tourists. In a notable ceremony back in 2022, 34 governors symbolically united water and soil from each province, signifying the commencement of the new capital city’s construction.

Ali said the point zero carried profound historical significance and would become an iconic symbol commemorating the archipelago.

However, while the process of building the capital is ongoing, he said, lodging and the airport would temporarily have to rely on the city of Balikpapan.

“Today we don’t have a four or five-star hotel in IKN. But, in the near future, hoteliers like Mariott and others will build in IKN,” he said at the same event.

At the same time, the IKN Authority said the construction of a VVIP airport in the national capital would begin at the end of August.

“Today we are doing land-clearing,” said Alimuddin, adding that IKN’s VVIP airport could improve access and connectivity, given its proximity to the central core government area (KIPP).

Currently, the nearest airport, located in Balikpapan, is 90 minutes from the city center. Alimuddin said the existence of the VVIP airport would shorten the travel time to the city center by about 10 minutes.

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