Labuan Bajo, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian central government has pledged its support for tourism-development efforts made by the country`s citizens and regional governments once Sail Komodo 2013 concludes.

"We will provide support for regional marine-tourism development. We will determine which areas need to be developed under priority," Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sharif C. Sutardjo said on the sidelines of the Sail Komodo 2013 inauguration in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, on Saturday.

He noted that the most urgent issues would take priority to allow people to enjoy the immediate benefits of hosting Sail Komodo 2013 in Indonesia.

The minister remarked that the international community should also have the opportunity to see the unspoiled beauty of Labuan Bajo, especially that of Komodo National Park, which hosts Indonesia`s Komodo dragons---one of the world`s largest lizard species.

Earlier, on Friday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had officially named the park a world heritage site.

Meanwhile, Chief People`s Welfare Minister Agung Laksono said the aim of Sail Indonesia, especially Sail Komodo 2013, was to identify Komodo National Park as a world tourism destination.

"We will provide consistent support after Sail Komodo 2013 to ensure that it improves conditions here," Agung stated.

He claimed the government would attempt to empower the locals by providing entrepreneurship training and would support efforts to develop the area`s image as a tourist destination through the sale of handicraft products, the provision of guided tours, and the provision of tourist accommodations.

The peak event of Sail Komodo 2013, inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with the press of a button on Saturday, was held at Pede Beach, Labuhan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.

The event witnessed participation from some 106 yachts from 26 countries.

Also present at the inauguration were First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Syarif C Sutarjo, and East Nusa Tenggara Governor Frans Lebu Raya.

Other ranking officials attending the opening included State Reforms Minister Azwar Abubakar, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, Social Service Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Marie Elka Pangestu, National Defense Forces (TNI) chief General Moeldoko, National Police chief General Timur Pradopo, Attorney General Basrie Arief, and several lawmakers and ambassadors.

Sail Komodo is the fifth sailing event to be held in Indonesia after Sail Bunaken was held in North Sulawesi Province in 2009, Sail Banda in Maluku Province in 2010, Sail Wakatobi and Bitong in Southeast Sulawesi Province in 2011, and Sail Morotai in North Maluku Province in 2012.


Editor: Suryanto
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