We have decided to have Mota Ain border area as the starting point."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province has decided to organize the Tour de Timor (TdT) biking and touring event of its own version.

The event was initially planned to be organized jointly with Timor Leste to provide riders a complete tour of Timor Island.

As per the initial plan, the TdT was scheduled to start in Dili, the capital of Timor Leste, and finish in Kupang, the capital of NTT (Indonesia).

The Timor Island is divided into two, namely West Timor, which is part of Indonesias NTT with Kupang as its provincial capital, and East Timor, which is also known as Timor Leste, with Dili as its capital.

But the idea to hold the joint tour by the two neighboring countries could not be implemented this year as Timor Leste had organized its own Tour de Timor version last September, in which bikers from 12 countries participated.

In fact, Timor Leste has been organizing this annual international biking and touring event since 2009.

As for NTT, the TdT will be organized for the first time on November 29 this year, and start from Mota Ain, Belu District, instead of Dili, as previously planned.

The tour will cover four stages with stops in Atambua, Belu District; Kefamenanu, North Timor Tengah; Soe, South Timor Tengah; and Kupang.

The route will also include Mota Ain, Wini and Motamasin, located in Malaka District.

"There is a change in the tours starting point. It was earlier planned in Dili, but this was changed later. We have decided to have Mota Ain border area as the starting point," Marous Ardu Jelamu, head of the East Nusa Tenggara tourism and creative economy office, said in Kupang, recently

The TdT has the objective of promoting tourism in Timor Island, in particular.

At every rest stop, the tours participants will be entertained with traditional arts and cultural performances.

Some 70 cyclists from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Timor Leste and Australia, among others, have confirmed their participation.

The participants will include 45 cardiologists from Malaysia, who will also launch a healthy hearth campaign in several regions covered during the tour.

Besides enjoying the tour, the participants will join public campaigns on cardiac health and provide free medical services to local inhabitants at each stop of the TdT route, Jelamu said.

"Therefore, we are very grateful for the participation of these doctors," he noted.

Currently, the TdT event is being promoted in Australia, Timor Leste, Malaysia and Singapore, he added.

"We hope the number of countries joining the TdT will increase, as we are not limiting the number of participants," he added.

NTT Governor Lebu Raya earlier expressed his optimism that the sport tourism events TdF and TdT - will help boost the tourism industry in the province and benefit the community.

Bikers from 30 countries will be invited to participate in Tour de Timor, which is aimed at luring foreign and domestic tourists to NTT.

NTT, known as a province of one thousand islands, offers a wide array of natural scenery, culture, ethnicity, handcrafts, ancient sites, and unique traditions that could be showcased to foreign tourists.

At every stopover, the international cyclists were greeted and entertained by local artists who performed traditional dances.

The NTT authorities hope to emulate the success of last Mays Tour de Flores (TdF).

The TdF directed foreign and domestic cyclists/tourists on a tour around Flores Island, while TdT will be a tour of western Timor Island, continuing up to Rote.

The Tour de Flores was organized for the first time this year, yet it has surprisingly attracted cyclists from several countries. The cycling race started in Larantuka, East Flores District, on May 19.

The TdT event will also follow the same concept as Tour de Singkarak which is held annually in West Sumatra.

Furthermore, the Tourism and Culture Ministry has encouraged several Indonesian regions to organize sports tourism events for cycling enthusiasts by offering them exotic routes passing through rural greenery with scenic charms, unique traditions and culture, as well as nice weather.

Among cycling plus tourism events organized across the country earlier this year were Tour de Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua, Toba Audax 2016 in North Sumatra, Tour de Ijen in Banyuwangi, East Java Province, Tour de Barelang in Batam, the Riau Islands Province, and Tour de Singkarak.

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2016