Saturday, November 28, 2015


Jakarta, Nov 28, 2015 (Antara)- Coordinator Minister for Cultural and Human Development Puan  Maharani was in Wakatobi District in Southeast Sulawesi Province, for two days to officially open the Wakatobi Wonderful Festival and Expo (Wakatobi Wave) 2015 organized in Wangiwangi, the district's capital on Nov. 27.
         Wakatobi Wave featured a cultural parade, a decorated boat contest, and various traditional dances portraying local culture, traditions, environmental wisdom and biological diversity.
         "I felt amazed while enjoying the cultural parade. The participants who were dressed to depict as certain kinds of fish, and the expressions on their faces -- these really made them look like fish," she said in her opening remarks.
         Local cultural and environmental wisdom must be preserved because these are assets to attract domestic as well as foreign tourists, she urged.
         "Another thing which is also important in order to attract tourists is hospitality of the local community. Welcome tourists with smiles, so that they want to come back again one day," she said.

        The Wakatobi Wave also called the Wakatobi coastal community cultural festival, was organized by the Wakatobi district administration in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Wakatobi District.
        A cultural parade, involving some 10 thousand participants and a colossal dance by one thousand dancers were organized to enliven the festival.
        The participants came from Southeast Sulawesi province's four major islands: Wakatobi, WangiWangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko.
        The Southeast Sulawesi administration has planned to include the Wakatobi Wonderful Festival and Expo (Wakatobi Wave) in its annual tourism calendar of events.
        The Wakatobi Wave will be organized every year, Wakatobi District Head  Hugua said on the phone from Wangiwangi.
        "Wakatobi has various unique cultural attractions. Besides, its sea has many species of coral reefs, fish and other marine fauna," he stated.
        The Wakatobi Wave is an event to promote Wakaboti's culture and biological diversity to domestic and foreign tourists, according to Hugua.    
   The colossal traditional dance is called "The Charm of Wakatobi as the Center of the World Biosphere Reserve."
   The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had declared the Wakatobi Marine National Park of Southeast Sulawesi province as a world biosphere reserve area in 2012.

        "The UNESCO has declared the Wakatobi national park, which covers an area of 1.3 million hectares, to be a world biosphere reserve along with 12 other biosphere reserves in the world," Wakatobi District Chief Hugua had remarked in May 2012.
        According to Hugua, the decision to make Wakatobi a world biosphere reserve was reached at the 18th meeting of International Advisory Committee for the UNESCO MAB Biosphere Reserve Program in Paris on April 2-4, 2012.
        Located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific Coral Triangle, the Wakatobi Islands which have been designated as a national marine park, offer crystal clear pristine waters and a rich biodiversity of underwater life, a true paradise for divers.
        Minister Maharani made assurance to support the development of the tourism industry in Wakatobi District to attract more tourists to the maritime tourism destination.
        "As the coordinating minister in charge of cultural and human development, I will coordinate with all relevant ministries relating to the tourist destination to help develop infrastructure to support tourism in Wakatobi," Minister Maharani stated.
        She emphasized that Wakatobi should have necessary infrastructure to support tourism, such as adequate supply of electricity, clean water, means of transportation, restaurants, and hotels.
        "District Head Hugua, please write a letter to the coordinator minister for cultural and human development on what Wakatobi needs to boost the tourism sector," she stated.
        She pointed out that there were power blackouts on four instances last night due to the shortage of electricity supply in Wakatobi.
        Starting next year, Wakatobi should no longer endure power blackouts as it will impact tourism, she affirmed.  
   She also promised to lure a number of athletes who will compete in the ASEAN Games 2018 to visit Wakatobi.

        Around 15 thousand athletes from the 10 ASEAN member countries will participate in the Games.
        "We will convince them to visit Indonesia's best 10 tourist destinations, including Wakatobi," Maharani said before thousands of Wakatobi people attending the Wakatobi Wave 2015.
        For that purpose, the Wakatobi administration and residents should make proper preparations for welcoming them, she said.
        "Restaurants offering Wakatobi cuisines should make preparations from now on, because it could become a tourist attraction," the minister noted.
        Wakatobi should also have good and convenient hotels to welcome foreign tourists, she added.
        "Don't miss the opportunity. Attract the ASEAN Games athletes in order to promote Wakatobi internationally, particularly to those in the Asian countries," she remarked.
        If Wakatobi is able to lure around five thousand athletes, it would contribute billions of rupiahs.
        Maharani, accompanied by Hugua and lawmaker Wiryanti Sukamdani, visited a construction site of a cruise dock and Sombu Beach, which is known as the best diving site in Wakatobi.
        The legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau,  the French pioneering explorer of the seas, is said to have called the Wakatobi islands in Southeast Sulawesi Province, an underwater Nirwana.
        Cousteau also described the district as the finest diving site in the world.  ***1***

(T.F001/A/F. Assegaf/A. Abdussalam) 28-11-2015 12:47:47

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