The newly polished Indonesia-Papua New Guinea (PNG) integrated border post in Skouw, Papua is now being a new tourist destination as ordered by President Joko Widodo. The building that stands as the border of Indonesia and PNG looks different than ever before. Officially opened on May 2017, it was built and designed with the cultural taste of Skouw.
The twin building outer design, a replication of entangled spouses, symbolizes the value of unity. Other distinguished cultural patterns and symbols are also embellished on every side of the building. Not only Skouw patterns, we can also find gecko patterns as a symbol of people in the border as well as a shield design on it.
Second Stage Construction
Currently, the main zone of Skouw border post includes the building which has been officially launched. Meanwhile, the construction of the second zone has begun and is expected to finish by the end of this year. The second stage construction includes the building of a church, a mosque, a market with 400 stands, a plenary hall, Wisma Indonesia (Indonesian House), and residential area for the staffs, police and military officers. The security fences and sea cliff’s fences would be built consecutively. Once the fences are erected, there would be no opening for illegal routes, eliminating the possibility of illegal border crossers.
“The first stage construction has completed. The second stage has reached 80 percent and to be wrapped up this year. There is two-hectares area for the national development,” Frans Imbiri, the Deputy of Skouw Border Post Area Development, explained in Muara Tami District, Jayapura (24/5).
Tourist Site and School’s Visit Destination
Not only Skouw Integrated Border Post is a symbol of a rapid development in border area, it is hyped as a new tourist site. Looking back to the old days, most border areas are usually crowded by visitors only during the market days. Now, there is no day without visitors coming from all regions, simply to take photos around the border post.
In order to anticipate the increasing numbers of visitors, the building of public toilets is included in the development agenda. Currently, there have been 10 toilets available inside the main building, and the construction for 10 additional toilets outside the building will soon be started.
Administrator of Skouw Integrated Border Post, Yan Z. Numberi said that President Jokowi instructed that this border post should be made as a new tourist destination. Therefore, people from any region can come and see. According to Yan, tourists’ enthusiasm is lived up after the post launching a year ago.
“Before the construction, the area was only used to cross the border. Not many people passing by here. But now thousands of people from all area of Indonesia visit it as a tourist destination,” Yan explained.
Most of the visitors come to the border post to take pictures of several unique and distinguished spots, such as the SKOUW sign in front of the post, the red-white Border Post of Indonesia sign, the front-side of the Garuda statue, and green areas around the post as well as the border gate. Some even asked the military officers to take picture together.
Not only tourists, groups of students often come to witness the new building of Skouw integrated border post. One of the groups visiting the border on the weekend are children from Children Empowerment Center in Skanto District, Keerom Regency. Those kids wearing green uniform walk along the border area to the neutral zone between Indonesia and PNG while listening to the the tour guide.
“We want to show the children the border and the monument. Many children haven’t been here before, thus we want to introduce them to our country’s border,” Yusfita, the tutor explained.