Manado, North Sulawesi (ANTARA) - North Sulawesi will hold the Bunaken Festival in Manado on July 17-20, 2019, to entice tourists to visit the province that shares its maritime border with the Philippines.

"I am optimistic that this festival would be able to attract several tourists to visit North Sulawesi and enjoy the varied attractions to be showcased during the event," Edwin Silangen, secretary of the North Sulawesi provincial administration, stated here, on Wednesday.

The Bunaken Festival is one of the events included in the 100 Wonder of Events 2019 designated by the Tourism Ministry.

A food festival, traditional music and dance performances live aboard the Bunaken Sail trip, fishing contest, coast clean-up, Underwater Photography competition, and triathlon will be featured.

The tourism ministry has named North Sulawesi as the Rising Star of Indonesia's tourism sector for 2019, as its tourism industry has registered a growth of 600 percent over the past four years.

Some 120 thousand foreign tourists had visited North Sulawesi in 2018, rising notably from some 20 thousand in 2015, 40 thousand in 2016, and 80 thousand in 2017.

The number of domestic tourists visiting the province has increased two-folds, from two million to four million.

The Indonesian government had held the international maritime event of Sail Bunaken in 2009 as part of the Sail Indonesia series.

Bunaken is an island spanning 8.08 square kilometers in the Bay of Manado, situated in the north of the island of Sulawesi.

North Sulawesi is known for its Bunaken National Marine Park covering an area of 75,265 hectares.

The five islands of Naen, Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen, and Mantehage are included in this national sea park along with small islands around it.

The Bunaken national sea park has abundance of fish and coral species and at least 20 diving spots of varying depths.

The park is located near the centre of the Coral Triangle, thereby offering a habitat for 390 species of coral as well as numerous fish, reptilian, and marine mammalian varieties.

Related news: Three North Sulawesi events in "100 Wonderful of Event 2019"
Related news: Bunaken festival to preserve natural environment, cultural arts

Translator: Karel A Polakitan, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2019