Named the World’s Best Snorkeling and Diving destination by CNN Travel, Raja Ampat, has prepared three locations for the international marine tourism event, notably Waisai, Sapokren Village and Mayalibit Bay.
The festival themed ‘Exotic Raja Ampat’, is being organized at different locations with the objective of boosting the local economy and empowering the indigenous people.
The locals will offer services such as homestay, speedboat riding, longboat tours, and other means of transportation to tourists during the festival to be organized by the Raja Ampat district administration, with the support of the West Papua Provincial Government and the Tourism Ministry, according to the head of the Raja Ampat Tourism Office, Yusdi Lamatenggo.
Raja Ampat is often called "Heaven on Earth", "Miracle of Papua", "Underwater Paradise on Earth", or "Real Wonder of the World" for its mesmerizing marine panorama.
The district has a geopark that is much more beautiful than the one in Halong Bay, Vietnam.
In 2012, the district was included in the list of Real Wonders of the World. It has been recognized as one of the world's 10 most beautiful diving sites, and rated number one for its rich marine flora and fauna diversity.
The district has around 1,700 islands, including the unoccupied and most beautiful Isle of Wayag, which is made of karst or limestone from other isles.
Located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat covers an area of 9.8 million hectares of land and sea and is home to 540 species of coral, more than 1,000 types of reef fish and 700 types of mollusks. Whales, sharks, dolphins, dugongs, and turtles are often spotted in the waters.
One of the most unique sea creatures spotted here is the Kalabia or Wobbegong shark. Also known as carpet shark, this remarkable shark is relatively smaller with a flat body compared to most sharks and is well camouflaged with a symmetrical line pattern that makes it look like a carpet.
But what makes this amazing is these unique creatures seem to spend most of their time on the seabed ‘walking’ on their fins, which also gave them another name: ‘The Walking Shark’.
The festival will also highlight traditional arts and cultural performances of West Papua and Papua. There will also be underwater photography competitions, decorated traditional boats, swimming competitions, Volley Beach, seafood cooking competitions and bazaars.
In the meantime, the district administration has made steady efforts to raise the standard and quality of its human resources engaged in tourism, specifically local tourist guides.
Tourist guides are the spearheads of the tourism industry here owing to their one-on-one interactions with domestic and foreign tourists arriving in the district, Yusuf Salim, secretary of the district government, stated recently.
In other words, tourist guides are the local envoys, who personally represent the district administration by offering the best possible services to tourists, Salim noted.
Varied training programs should be imparted to tour guides to broaden their horizon and deepen their knowledge to enable them to offer best services to tourists.
"Raja Ampat would always be imprinted on the minds of tourists worldwide if its tourist guides were to serve them exceptionally," he pointed out.
Therefore, the district administration has always praised and supported efforts to improve the competencies of local tourist guides.
"Thus, the tourism sector will be able to offer optimal benefits to the local community by boosting economic growth and improving their welfare," he stated.
The district authorities also organized a training camp for dive guides to ensure better services to tourists.
Some 30 local dive guides were taking part in the week-long training, held from June 24.
Related news: Raja Ampat focuses on constantly maximizing quality of tour guides