Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - The Mappi district government continues to attract domestic and foreign travelers by holding an event called "the One Million Swampy Areas Cultural Festival" on December 5-7.

The cultural festival involved the indigenous Papuans of Yaqhai, Awyu, Koroway, Wiyagar, Asmat, and Tamario ethnicities in South Papua Province, Mappi District Head Michael Rooney Gomar stated.

According to Rooney's statement here, Tuesday, the festival's opening ceremony had taken place at Muara Wimawan and Soba bath on December 5.

The festival showcased several cultural and art performances that reflect the richness and diversity of the locals' heritage, such as carving, boat dance, and noken (traditional Papuan woven bags), he remarked.

The One Million Swampy Areas Cultural Festival will be adopted as the district's annual calendar of event in an endeavor to draw more domestic and international travelers to visit Mappi, Gomar stated.

The district represents Indonesia's unity in diversity because native Papuans there live peacefully with non-native Papuans coming from various parts of Indonesia, he said.

The festival is expected to help bolster the district's economic growth and the development of micro, small and medium enterprises, including those run by Papuan women or mama-mama, he added.

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ANTARA reported earlier that the tourism sector is a promising source of locally generated income (PAD), so Statistics Indonesia (BPS) urges regional governments in Papua to pay more serious attention to tourism development.

According to Coordinator of the Functions of Statistical Distribution at the BPS-Papua Office Akhmad Fauzi, Papua has a variety of scenic beaches as well as diverse cultural and historical heritages.

In Sumberker Village, Samofa Sub-district, Biak Numfor District, for instance, there is a Japanese Cave.

As disclosed by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, the cave is one of the remnants of the World War II where visitors can still find light and heavy weapons, bullets, helmets, planes, tanks, bombs, foodware, swords, and medical equipment, in the front yard of the site.

Several festivals that have annually been held in Papua could also contribute significantly to economic growth if they were managed well, he remarked.

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Translator: Ardiles L, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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