Indonesia to rent out 10,000 paradise islands

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The Independent Online

Indonesia is to press ahead with proposals to rent out 10,000 uninhabited islands for local and foreign investors to use for tourism ventures, fishing ports or private retreats.

Indonesia is to press ahead with proposals to rent out 10,000 uninhabited islands for local and foreign investors to use for tourism ventures, fishing ports or private retreats.

A government official said yesterday that the plan would promote tourism. It would also generate foreign income. The country has 17,000 islands, many uninhabited and undeveloped. After its election last year, the government said it was keen to exploit maritime resources.

Although economy ministers and provincial governments have to agree to the leasing, it is thought the first rentals could be signed early next year. Investors from Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore have expressed interest.

Rohmin Dahuri, of the Ministry of Maritime Exploration, said islands could be used as trawler fleet bases or nature reserves. "Many of our islands contain species that are only found there. International conservation agencies are very interested in preserving them," he said.

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