Thursday, November 2, 2017


Jakarta, Nov 2, 2017 (Antara) - Besides Raja Ampat, which has been known worldwide as a hidden marine paradise on Earth, there is another hidden marine paradise, which is less known, notably the Takabonerate, which is located in Selayar District, South Sulawesi Province.
         Stretching south of the main island of Sulawesi into the Flores Sea, the Takabonerate National Park is a predominantly rich marine park and is also habitat to several bird species.
         Takabonerate is the third-largest atoll region in the world after Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and Suvadiva in the Maldives.
      Apart from atolls, this national park comprises of 21 islands and has 242 species of corals, 526 species of colorful and strange reef fish, as well as 112 species of macro algae.
        The Island of Selayar is a gateway to this extensive 530,765-hectare-national park, of which 220 thousand hectares form an expanse of atolls and lagoons.
        The administration of Selayar Islands had organized the Wonderful Takabonerate Festival, or the Ninth edition of the Takabonerate Island Expedition (TIE), themed "Showcasing the Marine Potentials of Selayar towards a Golden Marine Tourist Destination 2019," from Oct 23 to 27, 2017. 
   Benteng and Takabonerate diving spots are the two locations where the festival was held.
        Among events held in Benteng were a canoe race, a decorated pedicab parade, a duck-catching swimming race, and traditional art and cultural performances, particularly those of the Bajo sea nomad tribe.  

   Various traditional art and cultural performances were organized during the festival, according to Ince Rahim, head of the Selayar Islands tourism office.   
    Moreover, a culinary bazaar, offering various local fish dishes, will be held, along with a mass dance performance featuring traditional games by the local people.

           Muh Basli Ali, the district head of Selayar Islands, stated that the local government had made optimal preparations for the festival in order to attract as many tourists as possible.
          The Selayar district has planned some 50 cultural and eco-tourism events for its 2018 tourism calendar of events.
          Of the 50 cultural and eco-tourism events, Wonderful Takabonerate Festival is the major event, Zainuddin, deputy district head of the Selayar Islands District, remarked during a launch of the 2018 Selayar calendar of events in Jakarta on Oct 11, 2017.
       Esthy Reko Astuti, deputy in charge of tourism marketing development of the Tourism Ministry, lauded the launch of the 2018 calendar of events, adding that Selayar is the first region that has organized the launch of next year¿s calendar of events.
       The planned tourism events will include 10 K Selayar Maraton; Bajo Cultural Festival; Selayar Sail and Sale; Diving Jamboree; Selayar Fishing Competition; Tourism Photo Exhibition; Gong Nekara competition; Selayar International Folk Art & Tourism Festival, which will be held in August; Adventure Trail Tourism; Takabonerate Island Expedition; Selayar Anniversary; and Classic Motor Tourism.
        The Takabonerate National Park is in fact located in a very remote location and consists of the Tiger Islands, comprising of 14 isles, and Passi Tallu Islands, consisting of 7 isles. Therefore, many people call it as Tiger Islands and Gold Reef.
        Most of these islands comprise the atolls with white sand. The coral islands are interspersed by narrow, deep, and sheer-walled straits. On the coral flats, there are small, deep pools surrounded by coral reefs. At low tide, dry land is clearly visible, dotted by water flooding into the small pools.
       The national park covers a total area of about 530,765 hectares, which has an atoll expanse of about 220,000 hectares, with about 21 atoll islands in the region.
        The Tinabo Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Takabonerate National Park. It is the Eco-tourism Zone in Takabonerate National Park.
         The island has white sandy beaches with gently sloping topography of the land between 0 and 2 meters. The stunning natural beauty that relies underwater diversity, as well as its remote location from noise of big city, have attracted many tourists.
         Visitors can experience diving, snorkeling, canoeing, or swimming with baby sharks.
           The recommended time to visit Takabonerate is from April to June and from October to December every year.
        Reaching Takabonerate tourist destination, however, is rather long and tedious because of the underdeveloped sea transportation in the region.
        To reach Selayar island, one can start from Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi Province, and proceed to Bulukumba, and then to Pamatata harbor at Selayar island by a ferry boat. 
  Unlike Raja Ampat, which has been designated as one of Indonesia¿s 10 top priority tourist destinations, where development of infrastructure is prioritized to improve connectivity and accessibility, Takabonerate still has to wait to be designated as a majority tourist destination.   ***1***

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