"The festival is intended to increase both domestic and tourist visits to Padang, West Sumatra," Firdaus Ilyas, the head of the city`s education, youth and sports affairs office, said here on Thursday.
He said eight neighbor countries namely Hong Kong, China Taipei, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, and Australia have confirmed their participation in the event, themed "Padang International Dragon Boat Festival 2011."
Besides those eight countries, Firdaus said all rowing teams from Indonesian Rowing Association (PODSI) would also participate in the festival.
"Therefore preparations and accommodations have been implemented," Firdaus said, expressing hope that the dragon boat festival would increase both domestic and foreign tourists to Padang which was hit by a devastating earthquake in the past year.
He added that besides increasing the number of tourist visit, the festival was also expected to promote the tourism sector in the city and to introduce the local natural beauty and cultural heritage to the international participants. (*)