Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The international Sail Sabang event, which will be organized in the waters of Weh Island of Sabang Municipality next weekend, will have the greatest impact on Aceh Province`s tourism promotion.

According to the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA), tourists arriving in Weh Island of Sabang City by yachts or sailboats will rise in the next few years. "The impact of Sabang Sail will surely be positive and will have the greatest benefit for the marine tourism sector of Aceh, as yachts will frequently visit Sabang," ASITA Secretary of Aceh, Totok Julianto, said by phone in Kutacane, Southeast Aceh, on Tuesday (Nov 21).

According to him, the event, which will take place from Nov 18 to Dec 5, 2017, will boost the number of sailboats and yachts heading for a vacation to the most western region in Indonesia.

Ships from international countries, such as America, Europe, and Australia, will turn the Weh Island of Sabang into one of the favorite destinations in Southeast Asia, besides Langkawi in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand.

Sabang is known as a favorite destination as it enables travelers to indulge in various activities, such as diving, snorkeling, fishing, and sun-beaching.

"We, ASITA members, as tourism stakeholders, certainly hope that Sabang Sail would create economical benefits too," Julianto remarked.

Head of Aceh`s Culture and Tourism Service, Reza Fahlevi, noted on Tuesday (Nov 21) that a total of 125 ships from the Asian, European, and African continents will take part in the international sailing event.

"There will be 125 ships taking part in Sail Sabang," Fahlevi told at a coordination meeting with Tourism Minister Arif Yahya on Tuesday. The ships include 100 yachts; 13 warships of the Navy, including KRI Bima Suci and KRI Dewa Ruci; Baruna Jaya research ship; tall ships; and cruise ships.

There are at least 28 activities, such as the International Yacht Rally, Sabang Fun Bike, Sabang Underwater Photo Contest, Sabang City Tour, Banda Aceh City Tour, Free Diving Competition, and many more, that will be held during Sail Sabang 2017.

The activities of the sail event, scheduled to be attended by President Joko Widodo on Dec 2, will take place in four locations, namely on the bay of Sabang, Sabang Fair, Gapang Resort, and Kilometer Zero. It will be held under the theme "Sabang Toward Destination Gate of World Maritime Tourism.

During the event, the organizers will present the Admiral Malahayati colossal dance; a tall ship parade (by Indonesia`s KRI Bima Suci warship and tall ships from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore), followed by the Nusantara Youth Ship, Baruna Jaya IV, and VIII research ships; 100 yachts from Langkawi, Phuket, Singapore, Australia, and Europe; and a parade by traditional fishermen.

Apart from that, a number of supporting activities, such as sci-tech Jamboree, international free diving competition, Sabang underwater contest, Sabang Carnival, Aceh culinary and coffee festival, Sabang Wonderful Expo, Marine Expo, Sales Mission Cruise Operator and Yacht, and a Marine Tourism Seminar, will also be held.

Other interesting activities include Indonesia Charm Performance, fishing contests, and photo and video contests.

Deputy for the tourism industry and destination at the Tourism Ministry, Dadang Rizki Ratman, stated recently that the sailing event, which carries the theme `Developing Sabang as a Gate of Global Marine Tourist Destination,` is part of the efforts to develop Sabang as a maritime tourism destination.

Hence, the international sailing event is an effective means of promoting Aceh Province as a popular tourist destination.

Known as the Veranda of Mecca, Aceh is Indonesia`s westernmost province located at the western tip of Sumatra Island. It apparently has many exotic and amazing tourist attractions. Thus, visiting it can provide a different and exciting experience.

Aceh is famous for its beautiful nature and beaches, flanked by both Indian Ocean and Malacca Straits. The sensational beauty often makes tourists want to return to visit and enjoy it again. There are not only beaches but also many other places that are also interesting to visit and admire.

Aceh tourism objects are no less interesting than those of other cities in Indonesia. Despite the heartbreaking history of the tsunami in late 2004, the natural disaster has even added to the attraction of visitors to get closer to nature and the city of Aceh.

The popular tourist destinations in Aceh include Lampuuk Beach, Ulee Lheue Beach, Lhoknga Beach, Suhom Waterfall, Rubiah Island, Tsunami Museum, and Baiturrahman Great Mosque.

This is only a small number of the hundreds of other tourist destinations in Aceh.

According to Aceh Governor, Irwandi Yusuf, Aceh has at least 808 interesting locations that could be developed to achieve the province`s dream of becoming a major tourism destination in the western part of Indonesia.

"The government continues to improve facilities and infrastructure in all tourist areas in an effort to make the guests comfortable," Yusuf remarked last month (Oct 4).

He explained that there are hundreds of tourism destinations in Aceh province, consisting of 426 natural tourism sites, 268 cultural tourism areas, and 114 special interest tourism places.

Visitors can swim, snorkel, or dive in Sabang and encounter an amazing variety of sea creatures, from the colorful dory fish and the playful dolphin to the majestic whale shark.

In addition to its breathtaking marine life, Sabang also has an underwater volcano, offering visitors a chance to experience a unique dive. Iboih Beach and the small Rubiah Island, located 100 meters from it, are Sabang`s most popular tourist destination. It is also a nature conservation area.

The monument is on the western tip of Sabang, 29 kilometers away from the city center, marking the westernmost point of Indonesia`s land. Leaving Sabang without visiting this monument is similar to leaving Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower.


Reporter: Andi Abdussalam
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2017