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Toll road turns Banten into favorite destination for tourism and investment

Tangerang-Merak toll road
Tangerang-Merak toll road

With the presence of the Tangerang-Merak toll road, Banten province has turned to be the most favorite destinations for domestic tourism and even both local and foreign investors.

Aspiring to be Indonesian investment gate and tourist destination, the province, which currently is promoting the Visit Banten Year imposes practically no restrictions on business and tourism activities.

“The toll road has become an artery for rapid growth of my business core. It just takes an hour from Cilegon to Jakarta. Before the toll road was built, it took eight hours,” a Banten-based businesman Mbay Mulya Syarief told www.The Banten over the weekend.

Focusing his business on one stop logistic product and trucking services under PT Buana Centra Swakarsa (BCS) with 2,000 imployees, Mbay is one of succesful Banten businessman who depens so much on smooth road infastructure.
mbai mulya syarif

Mbai Mulya Syarif

“You can see my 400 trucks passing by the toll road within every 30 minutes. Let’s take care of the toll road because it has given multy plyer benefits to all of us,” he said, citing as an example that hotel occupancy rates in Banten continues to increase just due to the presence of the toll road.

Therefore, he believed that investment growth in the province will be tremendous in the near future following floodings and traffic conggestion problems facing the capital city of Jakarta.

He said the government should think of moving the center of the government to Serang which only takes an hour travel from Jakarta, not to mention should the planned Sunda Straid bridge construction materalize.

In a separate inteview, Banten governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah said opportunities for small, medium and large-scale manufacturing industries, housing estates, trade and services as well as shopping centers, tourism, health, agribusiness, and fishing are widely open in Banten because under the existing master plan, about 20 percent of the total area of 9.160 km2 has been designated for such business activities.

She said Banten at the moment is home to thousands of small, medium and large-size firms which are mostly involved in the production of electronic, healthcare, metal, textile and garment, leather and shoes, sports apparel products, electricity and other consumer goods.

The province has provided about 16,103 hectares of land for industrial activities. About 1,184 hectares of this land which covers 19 industrial plants in Tangerang, Serang and Cilegon have been used for the development of industrial estates with the remaining 14,919 hectares more for new investment.

A number of giant  foreign firms that have invested in the province are Blue Scope Steel (Steel) – Australia; Dystar (Chemical) – German; Asahimas Chemical (Chemical) – Japan; Charoen Phokpand (Poultry) – Thailand; Nikomas Gemilang (Shoes) – Taiwan; Korindo Utama (Automotive) – Republic of Korea; Daekyung Indah Heavy Industry (Metal); Dong Jin Indonesia (Chemical): Baiksan Indonesia (Chemical) – South Korea; Japfa Comfeed (Food) – Thailand; Tifico (Textile); Surya Toto (Sanitary) – Japan; Siloam Gleneagles (Hospital) – Singapore; Swiss-German University (Education) – Germany; Cabot (Chemical) – USA and Banten Bay Refinery (oil Refinery) – Iran.

The province’s industrial activities and tourism have rapidly grown thanks to the presence of the toll road, strategic location and unlimited supply of manpower. This has significantly helped spur the province economic growth that reached up to 5.2 percent. Growth is projected to increase to 5.7 next year and 6.6 percent as of 2015.

Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah

“We are working hard to further stimulate the  economy as well as tourism sector by focusing on the development of infrastructure and on the simplification of investment licensing procedures,” she said.

The Banten provincial administration had initiated and laid down new development concepts to further encourage industrial and tourism activist in the province by focusing on the development of a new toll road to link Serang with Panimbang in southern coast, including alternative road access as well as a specific economy zone (KEK) and a sea port in Bojonegara both for trade and export activities.

“Only with better infrastructure, more investors and tourists both domestic and foreign are willing to come and take the advantages of business opportunity and tourist destinations we are offering, especially in the coastal area,” she said.

According to Atut, the coastal areas in the northern and southern parts of the province are quite suitable for tourism and to put this idea into practice, the administration had collaborated with a number of private investors.

“We will soon begin the construction of the specific economy zone and the sea port in Bojonegara as well as the Sunda Strait Bridge to connect Java and Sumatra that will give easier transportation access,”said Atut.

Separately, the Tangerang Merak toll road operator PT Marga Mandala Sakti (MMS) president director Wiwiek D. Santoso said that the company had completed the final phase of the 72-kilometer toll road reconstruction project to support development programs in Banten.

She said the reconstruction project worth more than Rp 800 billion started in 2008 and the final phase of the project consisted of re-coating and widening the road from two to three lanes in both directions.

This year, MMS is focusing on widening all entry and exit road access heading to and from the Cikupa, West Balaraja, East Serang, East Cilegon and Merak tollgates.

“We hope that the smoother toll road can contribute to a significant increase in the number of tourists visiting Banten, which has great tourism potential and economc growth,” she said.

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