The panoramic views of Lake Limboto can also be seen from the top of the fort."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Held from October 9 to 11, the Indonesia-Middle East Update 2016 (IMEU 2016) in the Indonesian province of Gorontalo seeks to promote trade, investment, and tourism in the province.

An annual business and investment forum, the IMEU 2016 is jointly held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government of Gorontalo province, in cooperation with the Indonesian missions in the Middle East countries and all missions of the Middle East countries in Jakarta.

The event promotes trade and also potential sectors to invest in within Gorontalo, and emphasizes business matching sessions between the Middle East Business Delegations of investors and traders, and Gorontalo businessmen.

As many as 27 Middle Eastern businessmen from Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Damascus are to attend the forum, and will be offered opportunities to invest in potential sectors, such as energy, trade, infrastructure, industry, agribusiness, fisheries, and tourism.

In the trade and industrial sector, the local government will offer them a wide range of commodities from the fisheries, agricultural, plantation, forestry and animal husbandry sectors.

Among the tourist sites they can participate in developing are Saronde island, Olele marine park and Pentadio resort, according to secretary of the Gorontalo provincial government, Winarni Monoarfa.

Saronde is a small uninhabited island that relies on the potential of natural and cultural charm.

Located in the northern gulf of Kwandang, the beautiful Saronde island became widely known for being able to captivate the hearts of domestic and foreign tourists.

The waters around the Saronde island are known for being crystal clear and offer a variety of water activities, such as swimming, surfing, diving, snorkeling, and water skiing.

Besides their natural beauty, communities around the island of Saronde are also known to possess a unique tradition, displayed during their annual event called the Saronde Festival.

Besides Saronde island, Olele marine park is better known as Gorontalos hidden paradise and one of the special tourism locations in the province.

Foreign Affairs Ministrys Expert Staff Ridwan Yasin has suggested that Gorontalo could also be developed into a halal tourism center in Indonesia.

"By developing halal tourism in Gorontalo, the region wants to be known as the "Veranda of Medina" because the majority of the population in the province is Muslim," Ridwan said, on the sidelines of the Indonesia Middle East Update 2016.

Gorontalo province is focusing on developing the potential of its tourism sector, which is considered to be one of the worlds fastest-growing sectors and an important source of foreign exchange and employment.

Sustainable tourism functions as an important driver for achieving sustainable economic growth and creating jobs. Its rapid expansion is believed to provide viable opportunities for sustainable development, including poverty reduction.

In light of this, the Gorontalo city and provincial administrations are making every effort to optimally develop the tourism sector.

The provincial capital of Gorontalo city, which shares the same name as Gorontalo province, has as extensive coastline and panoramic mountains and valleys, with magnificent scenery.

Unable to single-handedly manage the tourism sector, the Gorontalo City Council plans to encourage private parties to play a greater role in developing it.

"Gorontalo has numerous tourism attractions that have to be managed optimally by involving private parties and investors," the City Councils Deputy Chairman, Erman Lajengke, said in Gorontalo.

Some of Gorontalo citys tourism attractions include the Otanaha Fort, the sacred graveyard of Ju Panggola from the 14th century, the Potanga Pool, Pentadio Resort, Olele beach and its sea garden, and Boalemo beach.

The Otanaha fort was used by the Gorontalo kings as a place of protection and defense.

"The panoramic views of Lake Limboto can also be seen from the top of the fort," he said, adding that the fort is located approximately 8 kilometers from the Gorontalo city center.

Erman noted that the Potanga pool, situated about 4 kilometers from downtown Gorontalo, has natural cool and fresh water coming from a mountain spring.

According to Erman, tourist attractions in Gorontalo should be managed properly to attract more domestic and foreign tourists.

Some of the tourist attractions that had earlier been the mainstay of Gorontalo city, in terms of income, were now neglected and no longer of interest to visitors.

"Therefore, it is time for private parties and investors to play their role in drawing more tourists," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Gorontalo Governor Rusli Habibie has stated that the local tourism office will continue to manage and develop the tourism sector more comprehensively.

"We have tourism potentials that can be marketed at both the national and international level, and therefore we will continue to develop it more comprehensively," Rusli noted.

Gorontalo is a newly developed province, and the governor is keen to develop tourism to boost local revenues.

Gorontalo province, with its mountainous panorama that provides magnificent scenic views, was established in December 2000 after it seceded from North Sulawesi province.

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2016