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IKN Nusantara Increases Tourist Visits

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By : Naomi Leah Christine )*

The construction of the IKN has a positive impact on entrepreneurs in Balikpapan, especially those engaged in the tourism sector. Their income has increased because the Balikpapan area has grown busier. This city is used as a transit point before coming to Penajam Paser Utara (which will be renamed IKN Nusantara) and visitors will have a short tour there.

Indonesia made new history by moving its capital city from DKI Jakarta to North Penajam Paser, East Kalimantan. IKN which is named ‘Nusantara’ is very strategic because it is in the middle of this country. Nusantara is predicted to become an ultra-modern city and the pride of Indonesia, because its design is not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally friendly.

The development of the Nusantara National Capital Region or IKN Nusantara will be the driving force for the economy, not only in North Penajam Paser but also in Balikpapan. The reason is because Balikpapan is a transit point before IKN workers and visitors come to Penajam Paser Utara. After a short break, they visited various tourist spots in Balikpapan.

Ishak Nurdin, Head of Teritip Village Pokdarwis, Balikpapan City, stated that as tourism activists in Balikpapan City, he was grateful and very supportive of the transfer of IKN to East Kalimantan. The reason is because it will have a positive impact on tourism and improving the community’s economy.

Ishak added, with the IKN in East Kalimantan, visitors to tourist attractions in Teritip Village, Balikpapan, have increased quite a bit, from only 300 people a month, now it has reached 1,000 people. The increase in tourist visits is seen around 90% of the existing data.

In a sense, the relocation of the IKN from DKI Jakarta to East Kalimantan has not only had a positive impact on residents in Penajam Paser Utara, but also in Balikpapan. The reason is because there is an increase in tourist visits and it benefits business people, both those who own hotels, motels, amusement parks, to entrepreneurs in the food sector. His business will be even busier thanks to the development of the Archipelago IKN.

Tourism in Indonesia has declined somewhat due to the effects of the pandemic for almost 3 years, moreover in 2020 there was a ban on leaving the house. There are also travel warnings from several countries, thereby reducing foreign tourist visits. But thanks to IKN Nusantara, the tourism sector in East Kalimantan, especially in Balikpapan, will increase again.

Meanwhile, hotel entrepreneurs have also experienced an increase in their income thanks to the construction of the IKN. East Kalimantan Regional Secretary Sri Wahyuni ​​stated that since Penajam Paser Utara was declared a National Public Service, the occupancy of hotels in Balikpapan has increased. This happens because Balikpapan is very close to IKN, only 89.6 KM or nearly 2 hours drive.

In a sense, the development of the IKN has many positive impacts from the transfer of the IKN because it also affects the city next to it, namely Balikpapan. Foreign investors, local investors and IKN project supervisors choose to stay temporarily in Balikpapan. They stay at hotels in Balikpapan and increase the income of hoteliers there.

As the number of tourist visits to the IKN increases, the East Kalimantan Tourism Office is preparing a new tour package to facilitate tourists and at the same time welcome the move of IKN from Jakarta to the archipelago.

According to Restiawan Baihaqi, Head of Tourism Marketing at the East Kalimantan Tourism Office, one of the places that has become an attraction is the Zero Point of IKN Nusantara. In a sense, travelers will come and see first hand the Zero Point of the Indonesian Archipelago’s IKN in the archipelago, which is very unique and second to none.

After that they will continue their tour in Balikpapan, such as in Bengkarai Hill, Margomulyo mangrove forest, and Melawai Beach. They will be fascinated by the natural beauty of East Kalimantan and will travel there the following year.

Apart from tourism entrepreneurs, those who benefit from IKN Nusantara are MSME businessmen in the culinary field. The increase in income was actually felt by MSME business owners at IKN, namely Solo meatball traders on the Sepaku highway, the direction from Balikpapan to Nusantara. Kasno, the owner of the meatball shop, stated that since the construction of Nusantara began, his business has experienced an increase in turnover.

Before the construction of the IKN, in one day Kasno only sold 100 to 150 bowls of meatballs, now in one day he can sell 300 bowls, even more. The development of IKN is very profitable, especially for MSME business owners in Sepaku and Penajam Paser Utara. Their business is selling well because they get a lot of buyers, namely IKN workers and visitors from outside Kalimantan.

IKN will increase tourist visits in East Kalimantan, especially in Balikpapan. Tourists are not only interested in vacationing in North Penajam Paser, but also in Balikpapan. Meanwhile, hoteliers, souvenir sellers typical of Kalimantan, and food traders also benefit because there is an increase in the number of tourists, both local and foreign. Their income continues to grow.

)* The author is a contributor to the Inti Nesia Media Institute

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