The number of foreign tourists visiting Halmahera in North Maluku to watch the total solar eclipse ..."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The rare and beautiful phenomenon of the total solar eclipse, forecast to occur on March 9, 2016, is expected to attract foreign tourists to Indonesia.

Both domestic and foreign tourists are keen to visit Palembang, Belitung, Bangka, Balikpapan, Sampit, Palangkaraya, Luwuk, Palu, Poso, and Halmahera to witness the total solar eclipse.

Head of the North Maluku Culture and Tourism Office Samin Marsaoly remarked in Ternate on Monday that dozens of scientists and several tourists from France will visit Halmahera to observe the total solar eclipse and simultaneously conduct research on the natural event that will occur in March 2016.

"Boarding a special aircraft, the scientists, with a variety of advanced equipment, will arrive in Maba in East Halmahera to conduct a study on the total solar eclipse," Marsaoly stated.

He said hundreds of tourists from several countries had also informed the local culture and tourism office of their interest to witness the total solar eclipse in March next year.

He noted that the culture and tourism office in East Halmahera had made various preparations related to the visit of the scientists and tourists from several countries, such as accommodation, transportation, and the location where they will watch the rare phenomenon.

Marsaoly said other areas, such as Ternate and Tidore Islands in North Maluku have also attracted many scientists and tourists from various countries to watch the total solar eclipse on March 9, 2016.

He remarked that some two thousand tourists had already booked hotel rooms in Ternate, and the number is expected to grow to four thousand.

"The number of foreign tourists visiting Halmahera in North Maluku to watch the total solar eclipse is definitely a blessing for this region as in addition to increasing the number of foreign tourist arrivals, it will also offer the necessary momentum to promote the local tourism potential," he added.

In the meantime, Head of the Culture and Tourism Office in Tidore Islands Asrul Sani Soleman stated that several scientists from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will also observe the total solar eclipse from the Tidore Islands, North Maluku province.

Soleman noted that the scientists will observe the total solar eclipse from the Sultanate of Tidore Palace through a special binocular brought from NASA in the United States.

The scientists have chosen Tidore Islands as the place to observe the total solar eclipse as it will be the ideal location, and they will be able to see the sun for a longer time period compared to other areas in North Maluku.

He noted that along with the NASA scientists, hundreds of tourists from various countries will also arrive to witness the total solar eclipse at several locations, including Maitara Island, one of the tourist islands of Tidore.

The tourists, who will come to watch the total eclipse in this area, are using the services of a travel agent from Bali and Jakarta or will arrive by yacht.

"So far, there are four cruise ships, including from France, the United States, and Switzerland that have confirmed to make a stopover in Tidore," Soleman revealed.

The city administration of Tidore Islands has made preparations to welcome the scientists and tourists.

The administration will also utilize their visit to promote the tourism potential of the area, including attracting investment.

Siti Norma Mardjanu, the head of the tourism office in Central Sulawesi province, recently remarked in the provincial city of Palu that the local administration will conduct promotional activities regarding the total solar eclipse at numerous international airports in Indonesia.

She remarked that the promotional activities highlighting the total solar eclipse will be carried out at the international airports in Medan, Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar.

According to Siti, the promotion will not only spread awareness about the total solar eclipse but will also promote the tourism potential of Central Sulawesi.

Siti said the activities to promote the total solar eclipse will be conducted by the Central Sulawesi provincial administration in December this year.

Currently, approximately three thousand hotel rooms have been booked by foreign tourists, who want to witness the rare phenomenon in Palu, Luwuk, Ampana, and Poso.

The total solar eclipse is expected to attract thousands of tourists, and therefore, it will motivate the local administration to develop its local tourism potential.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and Sun. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moons apparent diameter is larger than the suns, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness.

The total eclipse in March 2016 will occur in the narrow path across the earths surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region that is thousands of kilometers wide, beginning in Indonesia, and ending in the northern Pacific Ocean.

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
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