Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The `Visit South Sulawesi 2012` tourism campaign is touted to be a great success as it is supported by many tourist attractions in the province of South Sulawesi.

The province is rich in marine, natural, cultural, historic and agro tourism destinations that will make Visit South Sulawesi 2012 a great success, according to officials.

In a bid to facilitate the success of this campaign, the South Sulawesi provincial government`s tourism office is promoting various tourism destinations, particularly the Taka Bonerate Marine Park.

The Taka Bonerate Marine Park, located at Takabonrate Island in Selayar district, is famous for having the third largest coral atoll in the world after Kwajifein in the Marshall Islands and Suvadiva in the Maldivian Islands.

Swimming, diving, snorkeling, and fishing are some of the fun activities at Taka Bonerate Marine Park.

"With beautiful tourist attractions such as Tana Toraja and Taka Bonerate Marine Park, we are going to make Visit South Sulawesi 2012 a success," South Sulawesi Tourism Office Chief Syuaib Mallombassi said in the provincial capital of Makassar over the weekend.

He noted that Taka Bonerate Marine Park has the world`s third largest coral atoll, along with beautiful, healthy coral reefs and marine fauna in Selayar district.

Syuaib further said that to increase the number of tourists visiting Taka Bonerate, the South Sulawesi provincial government will cooperate with Express Air to provide daily air transportation to the tourism attractions in Selayar.

"Besides, we will also provide tourists with speed boats from Selayar to Taka Bonerate every day," Syuaib said, adding that an airport would soon be built on Selayar Island to support the tourism campaign.

Meanwhile, Suriadi Mappangara, an academician from Hasanuddin University, admitted that although Taka Bonerate is known for its beautiful marine park, the area`s supporting infrastructure remains inadequate.

"Therefore, both the district and provincial governments should immediately manage the infrastructure in Selayar, which is the gateway to Taka Bonerate Island, to support Visit South Sulawesi 2012," Suriadi said.

In Maros district alone there are natural, historic, and agro tourism destinations that are being developed to support the campaign.

Maros district head Hatta Rahman said in Makassar recently that the district has at least 8 natural tourism attractions and most of them have been developed.

"The natural tourism attractions that have been developed in the district include Bantimurung Waterfall, Pattunuang Natural Caves, Bulu Sipong Hill with its caves, Bonto Somba Waterfall, Lerang Pannige, Kuri Beach, and Karaenta Natural Preserve," Hatta Rahman said.

As for historical tourism sites, he said that the district has Leang-leang prehistoric park, Leang Akkarrasa Rammang-rammang historic site, Kassi Kebo cemetery, Karaeng Simbang cemetery, Japanese fort, and Karaeng Loe Ripakere traditional houses.

Hatta Rahman added that Maros also has agro tourism attractions such as the Pucak Safari Garden and various types of typically traditional food.

About Bantimurung`s natural tourism, the Maros district head noted that it would be developed as per international standards with hotels, golf courses, and other facilities.

Bantimurung Waterfall is a destination in South Sulawesi that tourists should not miss, as it can be reached in an hour's drive from Makassar and a 30-minute drive from Hasanuddin Airport.

Situated at the valley of a limestone hill with its fertile tropical vegetation, Bantimurung Waterfall is a government protected natural reserve that houses a beautiful waterfall and 1000 ha of surrounding forest.

There are also several caves around the waterfall, which make this area an ideal habitat for many types of butterflies and rare birds. Bantimurung also has a reservation of rare butterflies.

Hatta Rahman said the naturalist Alfred Wallace collected specimens here in the mid- 1800s.

Among the butterflies that he caught was the Papilo Androcles, one of the rarest and largest, with a tail like a swallow.

According to Rahman, the best time to see butterflies is when the sun appears after a shower, as the butterflies form a riot of color while flying from one shrub to another.

As for Makassar, the city will rely on its cultural and marine tourism to support the Visit South Sulawesi 2012 campaign.

Makassar Mayor Ilham Arif Sirajuddin said tourists would be able to choose many attractive destinations, such as Rotterdam Fort, Somba Opu Fort, the tomb of Syech Yusuf, the tomb of Prince Diponegoro, the tomb of Tallo King, Mandala Monument, Losari Beach and Paotere harbor to see traditional Pinisi schooners.

For marine tourism, Ilham said Makassar would offers islets such as Khayangan, Lae-Lae, Samalona, Kodingareng, Barang Lompo, Barang Caddi, and resort areas like Akkarena Beach, Tanjung Bayam Beach and Tanjung Bunga Beach.

He noted that the city would also offer religious tourist destinations, including the old Katangka Mosque, Raya Mosque, Al Markaz Al Islami Mosque and La Galigo Museum.

For accommodation, Ilham said, "Our hotels will provide guests with up to 5,000 rooms, not to mention hostels for budget travelers and convention centers for national, as well as international events."

He pointed out that Makassar and the districts of Wajo, Maros, and Bulukumba dan Tanatoraja have been set as tourist destinations for Visit South Sulawesi 2012.

Known for its unique culture and ancient traditions, Tanatoraja is one of the districts with beautiful hills and valleys stretching side by side along the slopes of the mountains in South Sulawesi.

The center of tourism is Rantepao, around 328 km away from Makassar city.

Reporter: by Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012