Jakarta (ANTARA) - In developing its sports tourism potential, Indonesia holds several championships or sports events, and one of the closest is the F1 Powerboat World Championship (F1H2O) at Lake Toba, North Sumatra, on February 24-26, 2023.

Lake Toba, one of the largest lakes in the world, offers a spectacular destination for athletes to compete and tourists to enjoy the scenic view.

Assistant Deputy for Sustainable Tourism Development at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment Kosmas Harefa stated that preparations for F1H2O at Lake Toba were 70-percent complete, as of January 24, 2023.

"It is expected that the preparations are in accordance with the target, and all the main gates will have been completed by February 10, 2023," Harefa stated during a virtual media gathering.

F1H2O is the world's largest motorboat racing competition for powerboats, on par with Formula 1 or MotoGP.

Harefa revealed that construction of one of the facilities, which is a centralized parking location, can accommodate three to four thousand cars.

"Currently, the Toba District Government, supported by the North Sumatra Provincial Public Works Office, has prepared a wide parking lot," he stated.

According to Harefa, the number of visitors is targeted to reach 20 thousand to 25 thousand, through intensive promotion of the event.

Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Sports Zainudin Amali stated that Lake Toba, as the host of F1H20, is ready to organize this activity, as proven by preparedness of the venue and other supporting facilities.

"The government has prepared many F1 Powerboat post events to support the economy of the Toba people," Amali, who serves as chairperson of the F1H2O National Committee, stated.

The minister also ensured that the visitors will have a pleasant time during the F1H2O at Lake Toba, as he claimed the location is cooler than Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the earlier F1 Powerboat event was held on December 16, 2022.

"In Sharjah, the venue was an artificial lake, and the weather was very hot. This is very different from Lake Toba where the air is cool and not artificial," he explained.

He emphasized that the government had been making serious efforts for holding this event and hoping for support from various parties to make the 2023 F1H2O a success.

Moreover, he expressed optimism that implementation of F1H2O would result in the emergence of new water sports racing athletes in Indonesia.

"We hope that this international event at Lake Toba would find new athletes, and hopefully, they can excel," Amali remarked.

He affirmed that the event can promote local micro, small, and medium enterprises and showcase the world's trust in Indonesia in holding international events.

Improving access

In supporting the event, the Ministry of Transportation has prepared traffic engineering management for anticipating the flow of tourists entering Balige in order to ensure that traffic conditions are safe and smooth during the event.

"The Ministry of Transportation, the North Sumatra Provincial Government, and the Toba District Government will make plans for the addition and integration of intermodal (transportation) from and to Balige,” the Ministry’s Director General of Land Transportation, Hendro Sugiatno, stated on Tuesday (January 17).

The North Sumatra Land Transportation Operating Agency (BPTD) also reported that state bus operator Damri offers bus services that can be adjusted to the needs to accommodate the visitors and the event.

The implementation of F1H2O is also supported in terms of infrastructure by the currently operating Balige, Tigaras, Ajibata, Ambarita, Muara, Tongging, Simanindo, and Bakkara ports.

"The KMP (Passenger Motor Boat) also operates in Lake Toba and is ready to serve tourists. There are five supporting ships, such as KMP Asa-Asa, KMP Jurung-Jurung, KMP Kaldera Toba, KMP Pora-Pora, and KMP Ihan Batak," Sugiatno stated.

The Communication and Informatics Ministry (Kominfo) also ensured that internet and telecommunications connectivity during the implementation of F1H2O will be at par with that of the 2022 MotoGP event in Mandalika.

"Kominfo has coordinated with cellular operators, such as Telkom and Telkomsel and others, so that communication during the F1 Powerboat is smooth," Kominfo's Director General of Information and Public Communication Usman Kansong remarked.

Most unique in world

State-owned tourism holding firm InJourney stated that the F1H20 circuit in Lake Toba is the most unique in the world.

"This circuit is quite unique because the track is on the lake. We have carried out the homologation (verification of the track’s safety), and the circuit length is 2.2 km. Its shape is unique because Lake Toba is a volcanic lake,” InJourney's Marketing and Consumer Experience Director Maya Watono remarked on Wednesday (January 25).

She explained that the racers are required to compete for 40 minutes on the circuit to be the best. Watono said, the ring one point is located in the Sisingamangaraja Field and Napitupulu Port.

Furthermore, InJourney President Director Dony Oskaria said that F1H20 will involve the local communities.

Oskaria explained that the shores of Lake Toba can serve as places for the spectators, and local people are allowed to collect fees as long as they are registered as InJourney official partners.

InJourney also involved 500 students as event organizers and will give them certificates.

Furthermore, Minister Amali said Lake Toba has gained the trust to host F1H2O for the next five years or until 2027. He said the event can encourage Lake Toba as one of Indonesia's super-priority tourism destinations.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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