Success of G20 DMM draws international attention to Belitung Island

(The landscape is) so beautiful, you have to go there.

The 2022 G20 Development Ministerial Meeting (DMM), which was successfully held in Belitung, Bangka Belitung Islands Province, helped draw international attention to the island.

The DMM, organized as part of the Sherpa Track from September 7-9, 2022, as an extension of the Development Working Group (DWG), aimed to discuss development issues in developing and underdeveloped countries.

The successful implementation of the meeting won praise from delegates from the 22 participating countries, who said they were very impressed with the culture and hospitality of the islanders, said the Vice Chief of Belitung District, Isyak Meirobie.

In addition, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who represented President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the meeting, praised the cleanliness of Belitung Island and the community enthusiasm amid the implementation of the event.

The Ministry of National Development Planning (NDP) did not choose Belitung Island as the host for the meeting without good reason.

From 1918, the island had become a tin mining center, which had a negative impact on its environment. However, since 2000, the region has started to realize the importance of developing sustainable tourism, noted PPN Minister Suharso Monoarfa.

The awareness of the region regarding the aspect of sustainability was in line with the objectives of the international event.

Objectives included proposing and promoting a blue economy roadmap, sharing best practices to achieve a blue economy, as well as creating potential collaborations to implement the blue economy roadmap blue of Indonesia, said Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, economic affairs assistant at the PPN ministry.

Good opportunity

The selection of Belitung Island as the host of the G20 DMM was a great opportunity to promote the region as a venue for international conferences as well as Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE), said Meirobie.

In addition, the confidence placed in it to host the international event has given impetus to the provincial government of the Bangka Belitung Islands to encourage the economic growth of the community through the creative economy, tourism, as well as the services sectors. micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). .

Previously, G20 DMM 2022 delegates were unfamiliar with Belitung Island, so they doubted the region could hold an international event. However, the smooth running of the event made them aware of the tourism and economic potential of the region.

In fact, many of them admitted that when visiting the island they felt welcomed by their own families, Meirobie said.

Many delegates expressed a desire to return to Belitung Island for family vacations or to run a business.

The positive impression of the island on the delegates could become a capital for the local government to advance the development of the region.

“The impact (of the implementation of the event) is not immediately felt by all parties (on the island of Belitung), however, believe me, we have strengthened the confidence of the international community towards Belitung,” Meirobie pointed out.

Therefore, the community and government of Belitung District must continue to uphold this trust by advancing the region together, while paying attention to local authenticity, beauty and wisdom.

Promote tourism

To liven up the G20 DMM 2022, a side event titled “Island Hopping” was organized during which the meeting participants visited several tourist objects in the province of Bangka Belitung Islands, such as the Lengkuas lighthouse on the island of Lengkuas, in East Belitung district.

The tour of the lighthouse, which was built in 1882 by British company Chance Brothers & Co., was facilitated by the Department of Transport’s Directorate General of Shipping as the facility is below the district office working area class I navigation vessel at Tanjung Priok Port.

Bangka Belitung Islands Acting Governor Ridwan Djamaluddin said G20 delegates who attended the G20 side event were charmed by the natural beauty of Lengkuas Island and expressed interest in returning to the region in the future.

In addition to the lighthouse, delegates visited the beach on the island.

The Acting Governor noted that during the visit, G20 delegates asked many questions about the formation of large granite boulders scattered along the beach.

“We (them) informed that the rocks were formed naturally by geological processes,” he said.

Furthermore, Djamaluddin said that the delegates were delighted with the preparations of the local government to host the event by involving the community.

They were happy to see the children of the Belitung Islands welcoming them along the road by waving the flags of the countries participating in the meeting and grateful for the warmth the community showed them during the event, he noted. .

“They were also satisfied with the MSME products, which are environmentally friendly, highly artistic and able to encourage the economy of the community,” he added.

Taneli Lahti, who heads the cabinet of Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, International Partnerships, European Commission, admitted that her experience on the island of Belitung was extraordinary. In fact, he said he wanted to bring his family to the island for an upcoming visit.

The Associate Vice-President of the External Relations and Governance Department of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Satu Santala, said he was very pleased that the G20 2022 DMM Committee had invited delegates to visit a group of small islands in the province of Bangka Belitung Islands, such as Batu Berlayar Island, Lengkuas Island, Pasir Island and Garuda Island.

“The sand is white, while the water is beautiful – everything is beautiful. I love everything about Belitung Island and Lengkuas Island, as well as the (Lengkuas) lighthouse,” she said. points out.

Meanwhile, Fatou Haidara, Director General of the Corporate Management and Operations Directorate at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), took her time climbing to the top of the lighthouse.

“(The landscape is) so beautiful, you have to go there,” she said.

Belitung District Chief Sahani Saleh said he believes the region’s tourism sector will gain more and more recognition from the international community after the successful hosting of the G20 DMM.

He said that belief grew as G20 delegates expressed great admiration after enjoying the beauty of the beaches on Belitung Island in person.

Apart from tourism, the MSME products exhibited during the implementation of the meeting also received praise for their uniqueness and quality.

“The tourism and MSME sectors cannot be separated. Both sectors should be able to develop (intensively) in the future, so they can make a major contribution to the development and well-being of the community,” added Saleh.

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Lynn A. Saleh