The Indonesian Government has adopted tourism policy as a leading sector. 10 (ten) priority tourism destinations have been established - 10 New Bali - one of which is Lake Toba. To develop these priority destinations, an Integrated Tourism Master Plan (ITMP) was prepared. The ITMP-Lake Toba is a planning document to guide the coordination of stakeholders in developing sustainable Lake Toba tourism by considering the 10A principles of tourism.
The ITMP-Lake Toba was prepared through stages involving stakeholders to conduct a series of analyzes of the conditions and challenges of tourism development on Lake Toba. At present, the process of preparing the ITM-Lake Toba reaches the stage of drafting a legal platform in the form of a Presidential Regulation.
Lake Toba tourist destinations include 8 (eight) districts in North Sumatera Province, namely districts of: Karo, Simalungun, Toba Samosir, North Tapanuli, Humbang Hasundutan, Samosir, Pakpak Bharat, and Dairi. Out of the 31 districts around the edge of Lake Toba, 6 (six) districts have been selevted as a Key Tourism Areas (KTA) to be the focus of development in the first 5 (five) years, namely: Simanindo, Pangururan, Balige, Parapat, Merek, and Muara. The development of the six KTAa is expected to enhance the tourism development in Lake Toba.
Problems and challenges in the development in Lake Toba includes: a decrease in the quality of Lake Toba's water and damage to forest areas; the system for handling solid waste and not yet operational; lack of public knowledge and awareness about the meaning and value of regional resources; lack of Tourism Human Resources; lack development of local artistic and cultural potential; and poor quality of accessibility.
The Lake Toba region will be developed with the vision of "Tourism, Building and Promoting Ancestral Lands, by and for All Communities". The vision is also paired in the valued of local wisdom, as a mobilizing tool that can be understood by the community, namely 'Marsipature Hutanabe', which means that each individual or group carries out and builds its 'land'. This can also be interpreted if each of them carry out their duties properly, then progress can be achieved together.
In 2045 the total number of foreign and domestic tourist arrivals to Lake Toba is projected at 6.1 million, an increase from 1.8 million in 2018. This growth is expected to increase economic benefits in the form of tourism sector revenues of Rp 5.1 trillion and employment a total of 116,804 in 2045.
The Lake Toba tourism development strategy is divided into 3 stages, namely Awakening, Acceleration and Consolidation. The Awakening Phase (2020-2025) focuses on changing mindsets to improve the commitment and contribution of stakeholders in the framework of improving the environmental conditions of Lake Toba tourism. The Acceleration Stage (2026-2035) emphasizes efforts to standardize quality, product differentiation, and readiness to welcome market demand while remaining consistent with the principles of sustainable development. The Stabilization Phase (2036-2045) will integrate tourism development into the entire Lake Toba region and North Sumatra Province.
The direction of Lake Toba Tourism development policies and strategies are:
Through policies, strategies and action plans in the ITMP, Lake Toba is projected to become a world-class tourist destination that has an impact on regional progress and people's welfare.