Both local and foreign tourists are keen to visit the Babel provincial capital of Pangkalpinang on Bangka Island to witness the total solar eclipse, forecast to occur March 9, 2016.
They are expected to pack Pasir Padi beach in Pangkalpinag to observe the rare but very beautiful natural phenomenon.
Accordingly, numerous hotels in Pangkalpinang are ready to welcome the arrival of tourists who would like to watch when the sun darkens the sky during the day in a matter of minutes.
On March 9 this year, people in Bangka and some other areas in Indonesia such as Palembang, Belitung, Balikpapan, and Luwuk, in addition to Halmahera, will have the rare opportunity to witness the total solar eclipse.
For a few minutes, up to 98 percent of the sun will be hidden from the view in those areas, when the moon entirely covers the sun, leaving the suns radiant corona shining behind it like a crown.
Menumbing Hotel is very supportive and hopes that the tourists from different countries will get what they really want while holidaying in Pangkalpinang, Bangka Island.
"Since January 2016, the number of local and foreign tourists who book hotel rooms continues to grow, and to date almost all hotel rooms have been booked," Menumbing Hotel Manager Supriadi remarked in Pangkalpinang Friday (Feb. 5).
Almost all Menumbing Hotel rooms and those of other hotels in Pangkalpinang have been booked by local and foreign tourists, and some scientists who will observe the total solar eclipse and simultaneously conduct research on the natural event, according to him.
"Hotel reservation is dominated by local and foreign research teams, rather than tourists who want to spend their holiday in Bangka," he noted.
Supriadi expressed hope that the beautiful phenomenon of the total solar eclipse will encourage the development of tourism on Bangka Island, as well as providing a positive impact on the progress of the hotels.
Bangka Island is known to have many marine, natural, cultural, and historical tourism attractions.
In addition, the island is also endowed with several pristine white sandy beaches, which are ideal for family outings, and Pasir Padi beach in Pangkalpinang is one such location worth visiting.
Hence, the Pangkalpinang city administration has continued to develop the Pasir Padi beach, overlooking the South China Sea, as a family tourism area.
Situated about eight kilometers away from Pangkalpinang city, Pasir Padi is the most visited location by the citys communities to unwind and enjoy its beautiful coastal scenery.
Susanto, the head of the parking and terminal unit of the local transportation office, recently stated that Pasir Padi beach is the favorite destination of the people of Pangkalpinang and other districts due to its proximity to the city, thereby making it easier to reach.
According to Susanto, various supporting facilities such as gazebos, food stalls, prayer rooms, and public toilets have been provided by the local government and will continue to be improved and upgraded for family outings.
Susanto said the Pasir Padi beach is frequented by more than a hundred people every weekend.
With its breathtaking panoramic views, the Pasir Padi beach has huge potential to be developed into a main tourist attraction in Pangkalpinang, and therefore, it must be supported by adequate facilities.
"We will continue to develop the beach into a leading tourist attraction in Bangka," he emphasized.
Visitors enjoy seeing the white sandy beach of Pasir Padi with its tranquil and crystal clear waters.
"Indeed, Pasir Padi beach is a special attraction for visitors who arrive at Bangka Island for the first time," said Gwendoline and Madeleine, the visitors from Bekasi, West Java.
Strolling on the white sands of the pristine Pasir Padi beach and taking in the views of the South China Sea was a humbling experience for Gwendoline and Madeleine.
"Therefore, it becomes difficult for us to remember why we ever got stressed as life seems to take on entirely different perspectives in Bangka," Gwendoline pointed out.
In the meantime, Nuryo, a ticket seller at Pasir Padi beach, stated that it was one of the most favorite beaches in Bangka that offered picturesque views.
"Pasir Padi beach is a favorite place to visit for the people from Pangkalpinang and other districts on the weekends and during the holiday seasons," Nuryo remarked.
According to Nuryo, the beach has a good hotel and offer water sports facilities. The visitors can also indulge in recreational activities such as swimming and sunbathing, or just relaxing.
"The visitors can also explore this beach with the local fishermen who always spend their days looking for fish in the sea. Besides this, the calm and fresh sea wind will greet the visitors when they arrive there," he noted.
Yuni, a visitor from Sampur village, said she preferred visiting Pasir Padi beach as it was not far from her house, or it took just around 15 minutes on motorcycle.
She opined that Pasir Padi is one of the numerous alluring beaches on Bangka Island.
"Bangka Island has several beautiful and astounding tourist resorts, and one of the famous resorts is the Pasir Padi beach, which is still a frequently visited destination for both domestic and foreign tourists," Yuni affirmed.
Pasir Padi beach stretches around 300 meters. Motorcycles and cars can easily ply on the beach, which has a long stretch of white, dense sand.
Besides enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery, the visitors can swim, fly kites, play beach volleyball, soccer, motor cross, or simply unwind while taking in the sights and sounds of the beach.