Indonesia is home to more than 17,500 islands – we all know Bali, Java, Sumatra and Sumba. But many, in fact around 4000, of the country’s islands have never been named.
In a bid to boost tourism and bring awareness to the islands, the Indonesian government has devised a scheme to let foreign investors lease an island and name it at the same time.
“They can give [the island] any name they want,” said Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan, “as long as they report to us.”
Pandjaitan is adamant that Indonesia is not giving up or selling its archipelago, and that foreigners will only be able to lease islands if they have a strong business plan in place.
“If the island is for tourists, it’s fine, as long as there are plans and regulations,” he said.
The scheme has already had some bites, with Japanese investors expressing interest in leasing a slip of untouched land, calling it Morotai Island, and transforming it into a destination for elderly Japanese tourists on vacation.
While tourism is likely to spark the most interest, Pandjaitan says that foreigners can also lease islands for reasons such as agriculture.
So if you could name an Indonesian island, what would you call it?