Jakarta. The Tour de Moluccas, a tourism-based cycling race organized by the Maluku provincial administration, is scheduled to take place on the islands on Sept. 18-22.
The race, sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Indonesian Cycling Federation (ISSI), will involve hundreds of cyclists from 20 countries, competing in 16 teams.
Participants will vie for total prize money of more than Rp 1 billion ($75,700) in the five-stage race, which will take place over 713.7 kilometers.
The event is set to boost tourism in Maluku as part of a national strategy to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia to 20 million annually by 2019.
"This event will support tourism on our islands, which can both attract local and international visitors," East Seram deputy district head Fachri Husni Alkatiri said in a statement on Tuesday (12/09).
Part of the route passes through East Seram, which is famous for its beautiful scenery and historic kingdoms.
Fachri said the district is ready to benefit from the expected tourist influx coinciding with the Tour de Moluccas.
"It's important for all parties to create a good partnership to fulfil the needs of the market and thus boost the local economy," he said.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya meanwhile said he believes the Tour de Moluccas will create massive exposure for the province, because sports are deemed effective to support tourism.
"Sports tourism is effective in luring tourists and it also can raise the region's status," Arief said. "It has a major knock-on effect and also provides high media value."
"The charm of the country with thousands of islands will be famous throughout the universe," he added.