REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli said he conjured up a vision that the Buddhist Borobudur temple in Central Java become a sacred place to visit for all Buddhists in the world.
"We want to make Borobudur a Mecca for Buddhists. It is like all Muslims feeling obliged to visit Mecca before they die," Rizal said when opening a function here on Saturday.
Rizal, who was also a minister in the era of the late President Abdurrachman Wahid, said that the Borobudur temple was "much more beautiful than Ankor Wat in Cambodia."
Therefore, he added, he wanted to promote Borobudur to become a religious destination for all Buddhists in the world.
"If Christians want to visit Jerusalem , Muslims wants to perform hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, well, Buddhists should visit Borobudur at least once in life," he said.
Borobudur, therefore, would serve more as a place for religious activities by Buddhists, he said.
"But first we have to repair (the temple)," he said.
The minister also said that the government plans to promote other tourist destinations like Lake Toba in North Sumatra , Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara and the Thousand Islands off Jakarta.
Indonesia needs to promote new tourist resorts and could not sell more of Bali, he said, adding,"Bali is already oversold."
He said there are ten potential tourist destinations to be developed including Lake Toba, the Thousand Islands, Bromo mountain resort in East Java, Labuan Bajo, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara,Morotai (Maluku), Yogyakarta, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi, Belitung of Bangka Belitung, and Tanjung Lesung in Banten).
Development of the tourist destination is part of the program to reach the target of drawing 20 million foreign tourists to the country annually in the next five years, he said.