Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has invited some of Indonesia's richest people to the State Palace on Wednesday to discuss investment in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone in West Nusa Tenggara.
Among those invited were Chairul Tanjung, Peter Sondakh, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, Eka Tjandra, Data Sri Tahir, Muchtar Wijaya, Sulistyo and Budi Hartono.
"The president is promoting Mandalika. The president's point is to declare that Mandalika is open for business to big businesspeople in the country," Abdulbar M. Mansoer, president director of the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), said on Wednesday.
Jokowi has included Mandalika in the government's list of 10 new tourism destinations to be developed to rival Bali. Investors committed to investing in Mandalika would enjoy several tax breaks and expedited bureaucracy.
Abdulbar said the businessmen who attended the meeting indicated that they would consider the president's offer and follow it up with the ITDC "The president has asked them to visit the place," Abdulbar said.
Mandalika has attracted several investment commitments earlier, in line with the government's plan to turn it into a world-class resort area. The Qatari government last year pledged investment worth $500 million in Mandalika.
The ITDC also announced plans for Mandalika the host the MotoGP race in 2021. The government has begun with construction of several infrastructure projects in support of these plans. This includes access roads to and from the airport, a longer airport runway, and port upgrades to accommodate cruise ships.
The ITDC is constructing the circuit in cooperation with French construction company Vinci.