Indonesia girds for toilet tussle

By Chi Liquicia

What tourists really go for. (Credit: Reuters/Claro Cortes IV)

Do tourists judge a country by its toilets? Indonesia thinks so.

Indonesia is blessed with natural attractions, historical sites and a rich culture. But it thinks tourists, turned off by its lack of clean public toilets, hold their noses and head for China and elsewhere.

It also happens that Indonesian tourist attractions, like Bali, beautiful temples and nature reserves, are spread across a poorly connected, 6,000-island archipelago. But, The Jakarta Post reports, the 2011 World Toilet Summit in China concluded that the key to increasing tourist arrivals lies in the availability of clean and proper public toilets.

The Post points out that Indonesia can learn from the example of China, once described as the country with the worst toilets in Asia. China has invested heavily in the construction of high-quality public toilets to boost tourism.

The founder of the Indonesian Toilet Association agrees, telling the Post “when tourist attractions are furnished with good tourist toilets they will attract more tourists, who in turn will bring more wealth to local economies, create new jobs and improve the investment climate.”

 So far, the paper says, toilets are a wasted opportunity.


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