Sabtu, 23 September 2017


Jakarta, Sept 23, 2017 (Antara) - The alert status for Mount Agung was raised to Watch, or Level IV, on Sept 22 following increased seismic activity, though authorities ensure that Bali remains safe for tourists, particularly locations far from the volcano.
          Indonesia's Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has appealed to tourists and residents to avoid any activity near the crater of Mount Agung and all northward, northeastward, southeastward, and south-southwestward areas within a 12-kilometer radius of its peak, increasing the area from six kilometers announced earlier.
          "All people in the areas must be evacuated starting from 8:30 p.m. local time today (Sept. 23). No tourist or public activity is allowed there," Kasbani of the PVMBG emphasized.
          However, despite increased volcanic activity at the 3,142-meter-high Mount Agung, Bali remains safe for tourists, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
          "Until now, Bali is still safe for tourist visits, except the area within the radius around Mt Agung where any activity has been banned by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG)," he informed the press on Sept 23.
          Several key Balinese destinations, such as Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Lake Beratan Bedugul, Tampak Siring Palace, Bali Safari and Marine Park, Garuda Wisnu Kencana, Sanur and Kuta beaches, Tanjung Benoa, Goa Gajah, and Nusa Penida, are safe and not affected by the increased volcanic activity at Mount Agung.
          "Tourist destinations in Bali are still safe. Please visit and enjoy the natural scenery, culture, culinary, and other attractions of Bali Island. The government will surely issue an early warning and information accurately if the volcano endangers the safety of the public," he said.

Kamis, 21 September 2017


Jakarta, Sept 21, 2017 (Antara) - Retno L. P. Marsudi, Indonesia's first-ever woman foreign affairs minister, has been recognized as an inspirational and phenomenal figure as well as a role model by UN Women, an organization of the United Nations (UN).
        Marsudi's hard work and sincere dedication to the nation and humanity globally received due recognition when UN Women bestowed the Agent of Change Award for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment on her.
        Deputy Executive Director of UN Women Lakshmi Puri, concurrently the assistant UN secretary general, presented the award during a luncheon held at the UN Headquarters in New York, the US, on the sidelines of the 72nd UN General Assembly (UNGA) Session.
        Puri of India, in her speech, said Minister Marsudi has become an inspiration and a role model for women in Indonesia and globally.
        Under the leadership of Marsudi, the Indonesian foreign ministry has promoted gender equality regionally and globally, she remarked.
        "She has also been in the spotlight regionally and globally for conducting sensitive diplomacy in the region, including in the context of Myanmar," Puri pointed out.
        This year, other recipients of the UN Women's Agents of Change Awards are President of Chile Michele Bachelet Jeria, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Margot Wallström, and Chairwoman of the General Women's Union of the UAE Sheikha Fatima binti Mubarak.
        The award is bestowed to recognize women leaders in public office for their pioneering work in achieving gender equality and women's empowerment across the globe.
        "Thank God, what Indonesia has done so far in humanitarian diplomacy and peace has been recognized by the world," Minister Marsudi stated after receiving the award.

Rabu, 20 September 2017


 Jakarta, Sept 20, 2017 (Antara) - The recent intensive efforts undertaken by Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi demonstrate that she is a strong and hardworking person.
        Marsudi has just concluded a "marathon diplomacy for humanity" by extensively traveling to Myanmar and Bangladesh and conducting serious negotiations to help find solutions to the humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingya ethnic minority in Rakhine State, Myanmar, and some 400 thousand Rohingya refugees fleeing to the Bangladesh border.
        Minister Marsudi has currently embarked on another marathon diplomacy initiative to secure Indonesia's bid for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
        Currently, the minister is at the UN Headquarters in New York, the US, for the 72nd UN General Assembly (UNGA) Session being held on September 18-29, 2017. Leaders and representatives from 193 UN member states are participating in the UNGA session.
        Marsudi has planned to hold 70 bilateral meetings with counterparts and envoys from other nations to gather support for Indonesia's bid for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC.
        The bilateral meetings, called diplomatic marathons, will be held on the sidelines of the 72nd UNGA Session themed "Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet." 
   On Sept 18, the minister had held at least 10 bilateral meetings respectively with foreign ministers or representatives of Samoa, Croatia, Namibia, Niger, Liechtenstein, Ecuador, Georgia, Monaco, Tunisia, and Switzerland, among others.
        "We request their support for our bid for a non-permanent seat of the UNSC," she noted at the UN Headquarters, on Sept 19. 
   During the bilateral meetings, Minister Marsudi also discussed efforts to strengthen ties with those countries.

Selasa, 19 September 2017


Jakarta, Sept 19, 2017 (Antara) - Various stakeholders engaged in the tourism industry should work harder to help the Tourism Ministry achieve its target of attracting some 20 million foreign tourists by 2019.
          State company PT Taman Wisata Candi (TWC-Temple Tourism Park) is among the parties committed to helping achieve the national tourism target.  
     The company managing the temples of Borobudur, Prambanan, and Ratu Boko, among other things, has been improving the quality of tourist attractions in Yogyakarta and Central Java Province and intensifying promotion activities in order to attract more foreign tourists to visit the temples.
          Last August, a TWC delegation had visited China to promote the tourist attractions in Central Java.
          They had sought assistance of the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing to help realize the target of attracting three million foreign tourists in 2017.
          "Perhaps, the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing could invite (Chinese) travel agents to bring along tourists to our temples," Retno Hardiasiwi, the technical and infrastructure director of PT TWC, informed Antara correspondent in Beijing, during the visit.
          "Without the help of others, it will be difficult for us to attract three million foreign tourists," she remarked.    
    General Manager of the Prambanan Temple Tourism Park Pujo Suwarno, a member of the delegation, said a total of 3,592 Chinese tourists had visited Prambanan Temple located in the border of Yogyakarta and Central Java during the January-July 2017 period.
          In 2016, a total of 207,952 foreign tourists, including 7,189 Chinese travelers, or only 3.46 percent of the total, had visited the Prambanan Temple.
          Harry Widianto, director of cultural heritage preservation and museums of the education ministry, who accompanied Hardiasiwi during the visit to China, noted that Indonesia and China had established cooperation to preserve the cultural heritage.

Minggu, 17 September 2017


 Jakarta, Sept 18, 2017 (Antara) - The Maluku provincial government is organizing the first Tour de Molvccas (TdM), an international cycling race of 2.2 class and Men Elite category, on September 18-22, 2017, that combines sports and tourism to attract tourists.
        To be held annually, the TdM is expected to develop into a prestigious international sports tourism event, as Maluku, or Moluccas, has been known worldwide since ages as the "Spice Islands," "discovered" by the Europeans centuries ago.
        Blessed with rich natural resources, maritime tourism attractions, history, and unique culture, Maluku will be able to avail the benefits of holding the TdM that will develop into a flagship tourism event, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan stated while welcoming and flagging off the TdM participants on Sept 17 in Ambon, the provincial capital.
        The tourism industry is one of the priority sectors that is expected to earn significant foreign exchange for the country.
        The Joko Widodo administration has set a target of earning foreign exchange worth US$20 billion from tourism by 2019, double the 2017 target of US$10 billion.
         Maluku Governor Said Assagaff has appealed to every resident of Maluku to support the TdM, as the tourism event is expected to contribute significantly to the province's economy and consequently to the welfare of the Maluku people.
       The governor thanked professional cyclists from 20 countries for their participation in TdM.
      On the evening of Sept 17, the governor, Minister Pandjaitan, and all participants took part in a Cycling For All tour to briefly introduce Ambon City to the participating cyclists.
         TdM is supported and under the supervision of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Indonesian Cyclists' Association.

Sabtu, 16 September 2017


Jakarta, Sept 16, 2017 (Antara) - Nearly every district and city in West Sumatra is keen to be involved in organizing the Tour de Sikarak (TdS) annual sporting event scheduled on Nov 18-26, as part of a tourism promotion initiative.
         Part of the Union Cycliste Internationale race series, the 9th edition of the TdS will involve 18 of the total 19 districts and cities of the province.
         Eager to be part of the international cycling race, the cities and districts are offering accommodation and transportation as well as showcasing their natural scenery, in addition to organizing traditional art performances to entertain foreign and domestic participants of the TdS.
         Nasrul Abit, the deputy governor of West Sumatra, has lauded the eagerness demonstrated by the cities and districts to be involved in the implementation of TdS.
         "This is a sports tourism event aimed at attracting tourists to visit this province. Hence, the race should cover every city and district here," he emphasized.
         "The schedule of the event has been agreed upon. Matters related to the technical implementation of the cycling event will be discussed further by the local tourism service," Abit revealed.
        He said the schedule and budget for the event faced no further problems.
         Covering a total distance of 1,150 kilometers (km), the TdS 2017 will be divided into nine stages, with prizes worth Rp2.3 billion up for grabs, according to Oni Yuflian, head of the West Sumatra tourism office.
        Yulfian said his office will still conduct a survey of the route on Oct 21-28 to ensure the safety of the TdS cyclists. 
   The nine stages will include Tanah Datar-Padang Panjang City covering 107 km; Painan-Sawahlunto, 166 km; Muaro Sijunjung-Pulau Punjung, 100 km; Danau Singkarak-Payakumbuh, 135 km; Lembah Harau-Padang Panjang, 101 km.
         The cyclists will continue to the following stages of Solok City-Padang Aro Solok Selatan covering 140 km; Pariaman-West Pasaman, 157 km; Padang Pariaman-Agam, 101 km; and Pasaman-Bukittinggi Sirkuit, 90 km.
        The grand start will be from Batusangkar, Tanah Datar District, and the grand finish in Bukittinggi City, West Sumatra. The official launch will take place in Jakarta on October 15, 2017.
        As for the fifth stage, the location of the finish line will be in the Padang Panjang City, which has been waiting for years to be part of the race.
         After crossing the finish line, the participants of TdS will stay overnight in the city to enjoy the cool, fresh air, Dalius, secretary of the Padang Panjang tourism office, said recently
   Local hotels and restaurants are gearing up for the annual cycling race, he revealed.
        The fifth stage will start on November 22, 2017, from Lembah Harau, Limapuluh Kota District, which is 112 km from Padang Panjang.
         Speaker of the Padang Panjang Legislative Council Novi Hendri expressed hope that the event would have a positive impact on the local economy, in particular, and the welfare of the people, in general.
         Meanwhile, South Solok District will organize a long house festival called One Thousand Gadang House (SRG) to highlight the TdS 2017.
        "We will improve it every year, so that it matches up to the Banyuwangi carnival and Lake Toba festival," Muzni Zakaria, district head of South Solok, said in Padang Aro.
        The SRG festival will be held in the SRG area located in Nagara Koto Barum Sungai Pagu Sub-district, South Solok District.
        Various local arts and traditions and a fireworks display will be showcased during the festival to be held to coincide with the arrival of TdS participants in the district.
        Zakaria expressed hope that the festival would help to promote tourism in his district, in general, and the SRG area, which is an icon of the district, in particular.
         The world-class TdS event takes renowned international cyclists on an exciting tour across the picturesque West Sumatra countryside's scenic landscapes comprising beaches, blue lakes, and numerous hairpin bends, as they climb up to the foot of the volcanoes.
         Inspired by the 119-year-old Tour de France, the TdS was first organized as part of the recovery program following a powerful earthquake that had devastated West Sumatra in 2009 in a bid to boost the tourism industry through a sport-based promotional activity.  
   Indonesia has intensified its tourism promotion, as the country is expecting to attract some 12 million foreign tourists this year as compared to 9.7 million last year.
        Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya noted that Indonesia has organized several sport tourism events that have gone global, such as TdS, Tour de Banyuwangi, Tour de Ijen, Tour de Bintan, and Tour de Flores.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/A. Abdussalam) 16-09-2017