Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Sail Sabang, the ninth edition of Sail Indonesia series, is the largest maritime tourism event to be ever held in this country, under the theme "Towards Sabang, Gateway of Global Maritime Tourism Destination."
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is scheduled to inaugurate the event on Dec 2, 2017. The inauguration ceremony will be centered at three locations, notably Sabang Bay or CT3 BPKS seaport, Sabang Fair, and Indonesias Zero Kilometer Monument.
At least 30 activities will be organized during the event, with the aim of promoting the tourist destinations in Aceh, in particular, and Indonesia, in general.
Some 20 thousand people, including the Deputy Mayor of Elverum, representing the Norwegian Government, and nearly three thousand other foreigners, are expected to attend the peak ceremony of the international maritime event to be held in Sabang, Weh Island, Aceh Province, from Nov 28 to Dec 5, 2017.
At least 22 foreign travel agents, along with 125 local and foreign buyers, have confirmed their participation, which will be highlighted by the Aceh Travel Mart, according to Reza Fahlevi, head of the Aceh tourism office.
A total of 100 yachts from Asia, Europe, Australia, and America, and three tall ships, namely Bima Suci and Dewa Ruci Indonesian warships and MV Lili Marleen, along with the Baruna Jaya research ship and other warships, are expected to participate in the event.
The transportation ministry will provide 20 shuttle buses, along with four speedboats and four ferries, to transport visitors from Ulee Lheu to Sabang.
The Indonesian Navy will operate four ships and water taxis to serve the Malahayati-Balohan route from Dec 1 to 3, 2017.
Garuda Airlines will operate additional flights to and from Aceh Province on Nov 29 and from Dec 1 to 3.
The Indonesia Tourism Professional Association is ready to hold the Aceh Travel Mart, in the cities of Banda Aceh and Sabang from Dec 3 to 6, 2017, to support the success of Sail Sabang.
Currently, preparations for the event have reached 95 percent completion.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya recently chaired a coordinating meeting on Sail Sabang preparations, which was attended by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf and Sabang Mayor Nazaruddin, in Sabang.
Several of the citys parks have been renovated as part of the event.
Yahya lauded the nearly complete preparations for the event.
"We thank the mayor for making Sabang City pretty and clean," he remarked, after inspecting the preparations here, on Tuesday.
"Through the event, Jokowi hopes that the economy of the people of Sabang, in particular, and Indonesia, in general, will improve," the minister explained.
Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan recently saw off 768 participants of the 2017 Nusantara Jaya Expedition, which is part of Sail Sabang activities.
The participants, comprising of senior high school, maritime school, and university students, as well as marine cadets, were aboard four warships, namely KRI Dewa Ruci, KRI Bima Suci, KRI Banda Aceh, and Dr. Soeharso, that departed from Tanjung Priok Seaport, North Jakarta.
They will sail for 28 days and join Sail Sabang international maritime event.
Sail Sabang is not merely an ordinary maritime tourism event, but it is aimed at accelerating developmental program in the region, particularly infrastructure and economic development, Pandjaitan remarked.
Indonesia has huge maritime tourism potential, as the country is the worlds largest archipelago, with maritime economic potential worth US$1.33 trillion per year.
Tourism is currently the second largest means of foreign exchange after oil palm in Indonesia. By 2019, tourism is expected to be the largest foreign exchange earner.
The government has been intensifying the countrys marine tourism promotion internationally, among other things, through Sail Indonesia, which is held in Sabang, Aceh Province, this year, he remarked.
As many as 1,220 hotel rooms in Indonesias westernmost Island of Sabang have been fully booked for the event.
The organizing committee will offer home stays or rented houses for the incoming tourists.
Sail Sabang is part of the Sail Indonesia series, which were earlier organized as Sail Karimata in 2016, Sail Tomini in 2015, Sail Raja Ampat in 2014, Sail Komodo in 2013, Sail Morotai in 2012, Sail Wakatobi-Belitung in 2011, Sail Banda in 2010, and Sail Bunaken in 2009.
This years event will mark the 17th year of Sail Indonesia yacht rally, which is being held every year since 2000. For this year, the rally departed from Darwin on July 29, 2017, to begin a three-month program of linked events across Indonesia.
Source: ANTARA News