... the event is also advantageous for all the people in the province and the regional governments."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Organized by Ternate Sultanate to mark the birthday of the Sultan of Ternate, the annual Legu Gam Festival in North Maluku succeeds in generating local peoples creative economy.

Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy will continue to support the festival that has been part of the annual calendar of the ministrys tourism activities.

"A lot of domestic and foreign tourists are now getting more familiar with North Maluku tourism potential through the Legu Gam Festival," Tourism and Creative Economy Ministrys Director-General of Domestic Promotion, Tajwir, stated in Ternate on Tuesday.

He pointed out that the 13th festival in 2014 lasted from April 13 until 28, and was able to promote the North Maluku tourism potential both at home and abroad.

"The festival is able to generate the creative economy of local people, and therefore the number of business makers participating in the event continues increasing every year," Tajwir clarified.

He noted that the Legu Gam Festival was one of Tourism and Economic Ministrys efforts to reach its target of netting 250 million domestic tourists and 9.5 million foreign tourists in 2014.

Meanwhile, Legu Gam Festival committee chairperson Nita Budi Susanti reported during the closing ceremony on Monday night that the event attracted a great number of domestic and foreign tourists.

She pointed out that when the festival was underway, the city of Ternate was sparkling with festivities as people from all over the island and beyond gathered to participate in several kinds of traditional art and cultural performances.

"This annual festival aims at preserving and promoting the diversity in arts and culture for the progress of tourism and creative economy for the people across North Maluku province," she explained.

Such an oldest and the biggest festival has been routinely held in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy but it lacks attention from the local government.

Therefore, Nita Budi Susanti has asked the provincial and district governments to continue to support this national event from year to year.

"Although the festival is held every year to mark the birthday of the Sultan of Ternate, the event is also advantageous for all the people in the province and the regional governments," Nita asserted.

She noted that the cultural festival of Legu Gam was in line with the programs of the provincial and regional development, and therefore the local government should have supported it by allocating a large amount of fund for the event.

The festival was packed with various cultural activities such as cultural carnival, exhibition, national seminar, and also an expo to introduce North Malukus potential in tourism, as well as marine and fishery resources.

According to her, Ternate is a miniature of Indonesia since the island has 27 tribes and 60 languages.

Literally translated as the peoples fiesta, Legu Gam is a tradition of the people of North Maluku, illustrating the unity between the royal family and the common people.

"The symbol of the festival is obviously the Legu Dance, a royal dance, which is traditionally performed only at official events in the presence of the Sultan," she noted.

As in previous years, the festival this year presented an array of features such as bazaars, cultural and traditional performances, Legu Gam Diving Expedition, a boat race, and swimming and fishing competitions.

This year the festival witnessed participation from no less than 18 cities to showcase their tourism and investments opportunities during the event.

The exhibition itself featured some of the top commodities of the region, with participation from government bodies, private sector, and small and medium businesses in North Maluku.

One of the highlights of the festival is the Fere Kie ritual, which was conducted on the summit of Mount Gamalama where the royal family prayed for protection and salvation for the islands and the country in general.

Another fascinating feature is the festival of the 100 "bambu gila" or crazy bamboo dancers.

Bambu Gila is a mystical ritual in Maluku Islands, where a group of strong men struggle to control a piece of bamboo from moving around like a crazy one as if it were possessed by an unseen power.

Meanwhile, the inter-institutional relations expert staff at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Syamsul Nusa stated that foreign tourists visit Indonesia to enjoy not only the local cuisine but also the beautiful scenery and cultural and traditional art performances.

Therefore, he noted that the Legu Gam Festival attracted a lot of domestic and foreign tourists.

"Every time the Legu Gam Festival is held, the area where the event takes place usually get packed with a large number of domestic and foreign tourists, and it proves that they are really interested in the event," he explained.

He noted that the festival, which has been included in the annual tourism calendar of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, has a positive contribution to increasing the number of tourist visits to Indonesia, particularly to North Maluku.

Further, the Sultan of Ternate, Mudaffar Sjah, asserted that the Sultanate of Ternate organized the Legu Gam Festival in its effort to preserve the cultural values in North Maluku, in addition to promoting the economic and tourism potential.

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2014