The Indonesian province of North Maluku is one of the countrys outer-most areas that houses more than a thousand islands and is home to the longest coastline.
The province often reminds people of its infamous island of Morotai, and its undeniably beautiful marine tourism. The island has been included in the list of 10 new seeded tourism destinations, put together by the Ministry of Tourism, known as the lost 10 new Balis.
Beyond the beauty of Morotai, however, there are numerous undiscovered treasures in the province of North Maluku that are yet to be exposed to both foreign and domestic tourists.
Governor of the North Maluku Province Abdul Ghani Kasuba said that his office was making serious efforts to raise the provinces tourism sector, one of which was by hosting events at both national and international levels.
"There are a lot of changes that are happening in the national tourism sector, and our province is just starting to emerge in this field. We do that by initiating a number of events in the province," he said.
He then revealed that his office was focusing on preparing an international event, scheduled to be held in the Widi islands of North Maluku, named Widi International Fishing Tournament (WIFT) 2017.
The event, which aims to focus on a particular aspect of tourism, is believed to be able to introduce the provinces potentials and its wealth in sea resources, at the same time placing it as one of the worlds best fishing tourism and industry destination.
There are over one million tonnes of fishery standing stock in the province per annum, while the number for maximum sustainable yield reaches 517,000 tonnes per year. These numbers indicate just how rich the Eastern Indonesia waters are in fishery resources, and they include the North Malukus seeded fish types which are skipjacks and tuna.
The local governments efforts to boost fishing tourism in the Widi islands is part of the measures taken to promote East Indonesias fishery wealth, all in line with President Joko Widodos effort to turn Indonesia into the worlds maritime axis, Head of the North Maluku Maritime and Fishery Offices Muhammad Buyung Radjiloen remarked.
"There are plenty of fish species that attract anglers, and they are all found in the waters of North Maluku, which is also part of the migratory path of the fish," he stressed.
With such rich resources, Radjiloen believes that North Maluku has the opportunity to be the pioneers in exploring the maritime tourism sector.
International level tournament
The Widi International Fishing Tournament (WIFT) 2017 is scheduled to be held from October 25 to 29 in the Widi Island of the Provinces South Halmahera sub-district, in which a Presidential Trophy will be the reward for the team that wins the tournament.
There will be at least 300 professional anglers participating in the event, 60 percent of whom will come from Indonesia, and the remaining 40 percent will be made up of foreign nationals, including Malaysians, Singaporeans, Filipinos, Thais, Japanese, Australians, Americans and Spanish.
Bearing a bigger mission
Joe Gesta, Managing Director of Jawara Indonesia Communication, which acts as the WIFT 2017s creative consultant, explained that there were four values that the Provincial Government would be focusing on through the event, the first one being education.
"Indonesians need to be aware of our wealth in sea resources, and they need to know that we need to maintain its sustainability," he noted, adding that this value would then be introduced through a maritime seminar and workshop around the industry.
Economic transaction is the second element that is being elaborated in the mission of the event, in which there will be a series of fishery expos and investment forums.
Thirdly, he maintained, Indonesia was extremely rich in cultural values, and this would be the next component in the event. "The provinces arts and cultural wealth will be exhibited through a showcase and exhibition event during the opening and closing ceremonies, which will be held in the Babang harbour of Bacan island," he mentioned.
As the event itself brings forward a particular interest, it then became the fourth value that would be elaborated during the event, through the fishing tournament itself, as well as underwater photography competition.
Furthermore, Joe revealed that the WIFT 2017 would be opened by Indonesias President Joko Widodo and would involve several central government departments, including the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Fishery and Maritime, Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Communication and Informatics, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Home Affairs.
Meanwhile, Governor of North Maluku Abdul Ghani Kasuba stated that his entire staff was focusing on preparing the Widi Island, ensuring its readiness to host the international fishing tournament that would boost the provinces economic growth.
"From today onwards, we will be focusing on the Island of Widi," he stated.