West Papua, Indonesia has a big potential particularly in the field of natural tourism due to its magnificent landscape around. One of the popular tourism all around the world is Raja Ampat which is located in West Papua. This place is known widely as the piece of heaven for the tropical sight of blue see and spreading small islands. Of course, it is not the only one. There are still many other destinations in this province of Indonesia that needs to visit. For this fact, it should be easy for Indonesian government to improve and then use it as the main source of income for local citizens.
Unfortunately, it is not easy as it seems. There is an obstruction that makes West Papua cannot develop its tourism that simply. It is due to the means and infrastructure that are still far away left behind compared to other provinces in Indonesia. Actually, it is not likely the government ignores Papua in term of development. The starting point of means and infrastructure development has been started even some years ago. However, it could not be immediately realized for some other factors as well. Papua citizens can breathe freely now since the infrastructure development seems to be accelerated now. It is in line with the statement from the Ministry for Public Works and Settlements. It is even planned that there will be two main areas for strategic development; they are Sorong-Manokwari and Manokwari-Bintuni.
The Minister for Public Works and Settlements stated recently that the development of infrastructure in West Papua is not only supporting the economic field in the urban areas but that in the rural ones. More than that, it is not only the economy that will be improved but also other issues like social and culture. In this 2017, the ministry has been budgeting at least 2.23 trillion Rupiah for the infrastructure development in order to support the food security, connectivity, people’s settlements. Some of the strategic infrastructure even has been finished. Meanwhile, the others are still ongoing.
The tourism issue is closely related to the connectivity improvement. Yes, some stunning beautiful spots cannot be reached by the visitors easily for the road that is not covered by asphalt. For this matter, the Ministry for Public Works and Settlements is in on process to finish the project of West Trans-Papua Road with total length of 1, 070, 62 km. More than that, around 68 bridges have been finished in 2016 and there are still 195 others developed and targeted to be finished next year. Almost all the roads are already opened but the geometric repairing is still needed in some location.
There are many hopes along with this infrastructure development. Despite its main purpose to improve the local people’s income from tourism sector, it has still many other benefits. This development is expected to ease the distribution of products from other areas in Indonesia. It can decrease the distribution fee as well so that they will be on the hands of people in much cheaper price.
Keywords : West Papua, Papua, Infrastructure Development, Tourism Improvement