Indonesia steps up marine tourism promotions

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Being the worlds largest island country with over 17 thousands islands and 54,716 kilometer coastal lines, Indonesia is rich in beautiful isles, beaches and such underwater resources as coral reefs, fish and other sea biota.

These potential resources are scattered in various regions across the country, offering greatest chances for the government to tap their commercial benefit through tourism development.

Therefore, according to Hari Untoro Dradjat expert staff for maritime affairs of the Tourism Ministry, the government is intensifying the development of tourism in various regions.

He said in Denpasar, Bali on Tuesday (March 22) that the government now focuses the development of its tourism in the regions.

"In the tourist resort island of Bali alone, there are 16 tourism regions, five special tourism areas and 151 tourist destinations," Dradjat told a seminar on tourism in Denpasar on Tuesday.

Thus, the government which has set a target to attract 12 million foreign tourist arrivals this year and 20 million by 2019, is also intensively promoting its tourism, particularly marine tourism, through various activities such as festivals, expositions, yacht-sail races and others.

It is admitted that Indonesia is best for its undersea world with various beautiful diving destinations such as Raja Ampat in West Papua; Bunaken in Manado (North Sulawesi); Lembeh Bitung in Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara/NTB); Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT); Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko in Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi); and Morotai as well as Halmahera in Ambon (Maluku).

Indonesia has thousands of places of this kind that are scattered across the country from Sabang in Aceh Province to Marauke in Papua Province.

The government therefore, is also active in promoting the countrys tourism through its "Wonderful Indonesia" logo in various parts of the world such as in Europe and Australia. Apart from that, exhibitions and festivals are also held at home.

In West Sumatra, for example, the government will organize a festival on Mentawai Island.

With regard to this event, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya invited the public to visit Mentawai Enchantment Festival 2016 to be held on April 19 to 21.

"The visitors can enjoy traditional food and marine tourism on Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra," Arief Yahya said in Jakarta on Sunday. Mentawai is known for its best surfing point. Many international surfing competitions are held in Mentawai each year.

There are two spots of wave namely Lances Right and Macaronies. The two points are recorded as the 10th best in the world for surfers. Mentawai Islands have pristine beaches with sun baked sands and has consistently been a popular surfing destination.

There are about 73 surf spots in Mentawai with 49 of them offering exclusive locations. In addition to surfing spots, there are also 33 diving locations and 38 fishing areas.

"Please look for wonderful Indonesia in Mentawai," the minister said.

The festival will display art and cultural exhibitions, nautical activities, traditional dances, food, and many others. It will be centered on Mapaddegat Beach, District of North Sipora, West Sumatra.

In efforts to attract more visitors, both domestic and foreign tourists, a marine tourism expo will be organized in Jakarta. The Tourism Ministry supports the organizing of the event.

The event is described as the countrys biggest marine adventure tourism exhibition, themed with: "Deep & Extreme Indonesia 2016". It will be held at the Jakarta Convention Center, from March 31 to April 3, 2016.

"The Tourism Ministry supports the organizing of the event. Lets explore the beauty of Indonesias underwater world," Tourism Destination Development Deputy of the Tourism Ministry Dadang Rizki said in Jakarta on Sunday.

Organized since ten years ago, the exhibition is the biggest and most complete of its kind held in the country. It explores marine tourism markets in various regions to be developed into world best diving tourist destinations.

Dadang explained that the Indonesian underwater world is host to various coral reefs which serve as habitat for more than 2,000 fish species and various sea biota.

Different fish species such as wrasse, dansel, trigger, sweetlip and unicorn are all can be found there. There are also various big fish species such as tuna, marlin, hammer head sharks, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, barracuda, dolphin and whales.

Various tourism operators and diving organizers, government organizations, tourism promotion boards and travel bureaus will take part in the exhibition.

The operators and diving organizers will display diving operator ship and various diving accessories, and other water sport devices. They will also exhibit underwater photography equipment.

Promotions through various activities at home and abroad are organized to demonstrate that Indonesia has huge marine potential that serves as the pillar of the countrys tourism.

Therefore, maritime expert Raymond Lesmana suggested that the government should develop the pillars of the marine tourism in order to attract more foreign tourists.

"The government should develop the pillars to enable its tourism to development progressively," remarked Raymond in Mandurah, West Australia, on March 22.

He made the statement when he became a speaker during the promotion event of "Wonderful Indonesia for Yachter Community Australia 2016" organized by the Tourism Ministry.

The promotion event was attended by Indonesian Consul General to West Australia Ade Padmo Sarwono, Head of the Asia Pacific Marketing Affairs of the Tourism Ministry Adella Raung and members of Yachter Community from the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club Inc.

Raymond said the government should carry out the pillars of the marine tourism sector namely national policy (Presidential regulation among others) which provides visa-free facility to foreign tourists, local government support to the national policy, making use of the momentum of marine tourism agenda, improvement of tourism infrastructure and of human resources.(*)