JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Challenged to become a leading tourism destination in the easternmost tip of Java Island, the Banyuwagi district is poised to host the International Kite and Wind Surfing Competition as part of sport tourism to promote the exotic island of Tabuhan, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.

Popular tourist attractions in Banyuwangi are the Red Island Beach, Ijen crater located at an altitude of 2,443 meters above sea level, with a depth of 200 meters, Teluk Hijau or Green Bay and the Tabuhan Island, among others.

Hence, the prestigious International Kite and Wind Surfing Competition at Tabuhan Island from Aug 26 to 27, is one way to promote regional tourism.

Banyuwangi District Head Abdullah Azwar Anas said on Thursday that the sport tourism event will be followed by 50 professional surfers from 13 countries including Indonesia.

Azwar Anas said the competition is the most fitting event to promote regional tourism especially the Tabuhan Island because the participants are from the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Spain, England, Switzerland, France, The United States, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

"Sport tourism is considered effective to encourage tourism, because we can have two benefits: first, the athlete and sport enthusiasts will visit Banyuwangi, and the second is the promotion of tourist destinations, especially Tabuhan Island," Anas said.

International Kite and Wind Surfing Competition organizer Iwan Syahlani said the Tabuhan Island was perfect for kite and wind surfing because the waves are not so big.

"Tabuhan Island is indeed one of the most ideal spots for kite boarding in Southeast Asia because of the constant wind speed over the island that remains between 20-25 knots," Syahlani remarked.

Seeing that Banyuwangi is known to have many tourist attractions, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has challenged the district to become a leading tourism destination in East Java.

The challenge of the tourism minister is quite reasonable, as the district is known for its natural beauty, coupled with a variety of culinary and cultural attractions.

During a working visit last June to open direct flights on the Jakarta-Banyuwangi route and to inaugurate the four-star El Royale Hotel, Yahya said Banyuwangi should be a leading tourism destination, with a target of attracting 100 thousand foreign tourists by 2019.


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