Manado, N Sulawesi (ANTARA) - North Sulawesi’s provincial government offers a scholarship scheme to hundreds of local students interested in studying tourism and honing their Mandarin language skills to cater to the province's skilled workforce demand in the tourism industry.

"The scholarship scheme has been granted to some 200 students. They study tourism and Mandarin language," North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey noted in his remarks at the 60th anniversary of Tondano's SMA Negeri I (public senior high school) here on Thursday.

The students, after being imparted training, are later expected to meet the demand of the Likupang Tourism Special Economic Zone for skilled workers once the Minahasa Utara District-based SEZ becomes operational, he stated.

"This is indeed a viable opportunity for our youngsters," Governor Dondokambey remarked, adding that in July, 50 students, after concluding their tourism and Mandarin language training program, had returned home.

In China, North Sulawesi’s students received not only a mere month or two of training and edification, but several of them were also imparted training spanning two years, he stated.

"We are optimistic that the knowledge and training received from China would later be applied in our Tourism Special Economic Zone. Let us encourage them to study harder for North Sulawesi's new era," he noted.

Tourism has become one of the driving forces of North Sulawesi's economy owing to the increasing inflow of foreign tourists into the province. North Sulawesi was named as Indonesia's rising destination of the year 2019 by the tourism ministry.

Related news: Chinese dominate tourist arrivals in North Sulawesi

With population reaching 2.4 million and situated on the northern Sulawesi Island, or earlier known as Celebes, North Sulawesi is looking forward to attracting more foreign tourists to visit the province.

A plethora of natural panoramas, with beaches, hills, volcanic mountains, and scenic plateaus beckon one and all.

The scenic and biodiverse Bunaken Marine National Park, located some 10 kilometers from the provincial capital of Manado, is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The park has been inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage List.

Data of the Manado Immigration office showed that foreign tourist visits during the January-May 2019 period had reached 55,144, or a 9.67-percent rise, as compared to 50,284 travelers during the corresponding time frame in 2018.

Of the total tourists, 86 percent came from China, followed by two percent each from Singapore and Germany, and 1.3 percent from the United States. Related news: Infrastructure development intensifies to boost N Sulawesi Tourism

Related news: North Sulawesi's tourist facilities to be renovated by 2020


Translator: Karel AP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019