Nias Island, located in North Sumatra Province and often considered the best kept secret of Indonesians, will be unveiled to the world at an international maritime event to be organized from July until September 2019.
Sail Nias, the 11th series of Sail Indonesia, will be opened at a ceremony in Teluk Dalam (Bay), South Nias, on September 14, 2019. Sail Indonesia is part of plans to accelerate the development of underdeveloped regions in Indonesia.
Various activities will be organized during the event, including Wonderful Nias Expo 2019, an international surfing contest, a battleship parade, Nias Marathon, a culinary bazaar, and traditional art and cultural performances.
Other activities will include Wind Surfing and Sailing Contests, Free Diving Competition, Stone Jump Festival, Traditional Fishing Boat Parade, Coffee Festival, Fishing Tournament, Wonderful Tourism Photo Expo, One Thousand Tents Festival, and the Mt Sitori cultural seminar.
At least 100 thousand Indonesian and foreign tourists are expected to come for Sail Nias, whose main activities will be held from September 10 to 14, according to Hidayati, head of the North Sumatra tourism office.
Sail Nias will offer an opportunity to promote Nias globally and boost the local economy, Zaman K. Mendrofa, a prominent figure, remarked recently.
Mendrofa has appealed to the central government, local administrations at the provincial, district, and municipal levels, businessmen, and local residents to help ensure the success of Sail Nias.
The event is expected to promote Nias Island as an international tourist destination. Also, the maritime event is expected to help drive infrastructure development on Nias Island, which lies about 125 km off the western coast of Sumatra Island on the Indian Ocean.
The island has beautiful beaches, ideal for water sport activities, such as surfing and scuba diving, he noted.
The local people have rich traditional arts and a unique culture to display. The island also has prehistoric remains built during the Stone Age, and may be the oldest megalithic culture in Indonesia.
An interesting tourist attraction on Nias are the traditional houses, which are made of wood and built on stones. The houses resemble boats with stones underneath them. Some of the houses are oval shaped while others are round.
The skill of building such houses is passed from generations. There is also a large traditional house, called omonifalasara, which means “the mouth of the dragon”.
A stone jumping tradition is the icon of Nias and already famous among travelers. The tradition of stone jumping was born, together with the Nias War Dance. Since ancient times, tribes in Nias often clashed, and the chief (si’ulu) of every tribe trained their young members for war; stone jumping was a part of the training.
And among the best kept secrets of Nias Island is Sorake beach, which is recognized as the second-best place to surf, after Hawaii. For those who enjoy diving and viewing coral reefs and colorful fish, there is also the underwater panorama of Lagundri beach.
As the world’s largest archipelagic nation with more than 17 thousand islands, Indonesia seeks to become a global maritime axis.
The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration has, however, voiced that marine tourism, despite its vast potential, has been overlooked. Hence, the President has instructed that the promotion of the country's maritime tourism, urging that it be intensified globally.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has spoken of Indonesia's aspirations of having at least eight thousand yachts, including foreign yachts, anchored off its shores by 2019.
Sail Moyo Tambora 2018, organized in Sumbawa Island in West Nusa Tenggara Province on September 9-23 last year, attracted a number of foreign yachts, including from Australia, to participate in the event.
"The Sail Moyo Tambora 2018 event is the beginning of the recovery of Lombok and Sumbawa tourism after the earthquake disaster," said Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, while inaugurating the 10th Sail Indonesia series on Moyo Island, Sumbawa, on September 9, 2018.
Sumbawa was chosen as the location for organizing Sail Moyo Tambora 2018, because the charm of Moyo Island is well-known throughout the world and has attracted international celebrities, such as Lady Diana and rock singer Mick Jagger to visit Moyo Island.