Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Only a month before Jambi`s provincial government staged the Lake Kerinci festival, Sky Aviation airline conducted its first flight from Jambi to Kerinci`s Depati Parbo airport on June 6, 2011.

The provincial government`s effort to open a regular Jambi-Kerinci route that was to be served three times a week was intended to help make it easier for people to reach Kerinci which is nationally famous for its Mount Kerinci and export-quality Kayo Aro tea.

Sky Aviation uses Fokker-50 aircraft with a capacity of 50 passengers to fly the route three times a week, namely on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The air ticket prices ranging from rp219,000 to rp400,000 in accordance the conditions and demand like the other commercial aircraft. Kerinci district is about 410 km from the city of Jambi.

According to the head of the provincial transportation affairs office, Guldiyanto, in Jambi on Thursday (June 23), since Sky Aviation started serving the Jambi-Kerinci route, the number of passengers had reached 75 percent of the aircraft`s seating capacity.

But Sky Aviation was called to divert the route from Palembang, capital city of South Sumatra to Padang, capital of West Sumatra to avoid losses, because the number of passengers on the current route is less than 50 percent of the aircraft`s seating capacity.

Thus, the suggested route is Padang-Jambi-Kerinci, instead of Palembang-Jambi-Kerinci, Guldiyanto said, adding that the air transportion was aimed to attract investors and increase the number of tourist visits to Kerinci.

The Kerinci administration also continues to complement a variety of facilities and infrastructure to support the airport.

"We hope the amount of investors and foreign tourists to come to Kerinci could increase," said Guldiyanto.

Kerinci district has the natural tourist attraction, such as lakes, waterfalls, geothermal sources and valleys.

The flight will also be effective to overcome land traffic obstacle where around 320 kilometers of roads in Kerinci district is now reported damaged and of course not fit for traffic.

"The damage of the roads occurred since 10 years ago," said

Kusairi, the local public works official said in Jambi recently.

The worst damage of the road happened in Muaro Imat towards the provincial capital city of Jambi, he said, adding that the damage happened due to the heavy rain and landslide.

Kerinci district can be reached through three channels, two channels through West Sumatra, namely through the Pesisir Selatan District and South Solok district, Merangin District, Jambi Province.

Three land routes, namely from Merangin District and South Coast, conditions are now damaged, but many holes are also prone to landslides and fallen trees when it rains and high winds.

"The Lake Kerinci Festival is held annually," Arlis Harun, the head of Kerinci district`s youth and sport office, said Friday.

"The festival is aimed at attracting domestic as well as foreign tourists to the westernmost district of Jambi which has beautiful nature panorama and is rich in culture," he said.

The two neighboring countries` ambassadors and several cabinet ministers are expected to attend the opening of the festival.

This year, the festival will not only feature arts and culture of Kerinci District but also several other districts in Jambi Province.

Various handicrafts and household industrial products will also be displayed in the event.

The festival will be centered near Lake Kerinci at Pulau Tengah island.

Among tourist attractions in Jambi are Telun Berasap waterfall, hot spring, and Aroma Peko Kayu Aro park.

Aside from that, a culinary competition among others offering lake fish dishes is expected to highlight the Lake Kerinci festival.

The festival will be more attractively held by the community of Lake Kerinci (FMPDK) compared with that of the last year, Arlis Harun earlier.

In addition, the festival`s organizing committee will also conduct three unique events different from the previous year`s, namely blowing straw stem whistles, floating party in the middle of the lake, and a buffalo-parade of pulling the non-wheel carts, he said.

The three unique events will be held for the first time this year, he noted. The festival which will take place along with the long school holidays is expected to lure many domestic and foreign visitors. Other competitions will include fishing and fish grilling, the festival organizing committee noted.

Ambassadors of Singapore and Malaysia to Indonesia have been invited to attend the Lake Kerinci Festival opening ceremony.

Backtracking trip by land to Kerinci due to serious damaged roads hopefully can be solved soon through the Air transportation which only needs 45 minutes flight from Jambi. (*)

Reporter: By Bustanuddin
Editor: Kunto Wibisono
Copyright © ANTARA 2011