Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands, (ANTARA News) - Tourism Minister Arief Yahya declared Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands, as Indonesias maritime tourism gateway when opening Riau Islands Maritime Festival 2016 which is part of Sail Karimata here Saturday.

"Attractions, especially those of culture have been well displayed by Tanjung Pinang. However, we need to build wide accesses in order that tourists, mainly foreign travelers can easily reach the city," the minister said.

Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism will seek additional frequency of direct flights from Batam to abroad, and open direct flights from Tanjung Pinang to overseas starting next year, Arief Yahya said.

With Tanjung Pinang serving as Indonesias maritime tourism gateway, supporting facilities like marina should be developed in the capital city of Riau Islands, the minister said.

According to the minister, so far maritime tourism only contributes 10 percent of foreign exchange and the contribution of this sector will be increased to 20 percent.

"President Joko Widodo instructs that in 2017 such maritime events as Sail Indonesia should accentuate tour and travel programs," the minister said and on the same occasion, he declared Aceh as the next venue of Sail Indonesia under a name of Sail Sabang 2017.

Sail Indonesia which has been held since 2001 is an annual international yacht rally, starting from Darwin, Australia to the waters of Indonesia then to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Since 2009 the event is tailored to the location where the peak of the event is held.

In 2016 the sailing program is organized with a name of Sail Karimata from August to 15 October in which Sukadana, West Kalimantan was the location of the peak of the event.

Afterwards, the event series is continued with Belitung Festival on 22 October and Riau Islands Maritime Festival on October 28 - 30.


Reporter: Bambang Purwanto
Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
Copyright © ANTARA 2016