Jakarta. The Ministry of Tourism has pledged its support for the 2017 World Cup Beach Woodball Championship, scheduled to take place at Bintan Lagoon Resort in Riau Islands province on Aug. 9-13, as part of efforts to boost cross-border tourism in the region.
The ministry previously supported various other sporting events on the island, such as the Tour de Bintan, Bintan Triathlon, Iron Man, Spartan Race, Moon Race and international golf tournaments.
"We are trusted by the International Woodball Federation to host the first world championship. The activity involves the Indonesia Woodball Association in Tanjung Pinang as the local committee, in cooperation with the Bintan Tourism Agency, also supported by the Tourism Ministry," World Cup Beach Woodball Championship committee chairman Suparno said in a statement on Tuesday (01/08).
"Up to 12 countries have confirmed their attendance. At least 176 players are expected to participate in the championship," he added.
The countries that have confirmed their participation are Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, India, China, Uganda, Oman, Nepal and host Indonesia.
"We are still waiting until the end of the registration period for more countries to confirm their participation," Suparno said.
Woodball is a modification of golf, which cuts the cost and time required for playing, while still preserving the environment. The required equipment is cheaper, with the goal of hitting a wooden ball through a designated gate on a field between 30 meters and 150 meters in length.
Bintan Tourism Agency head Luki Zaiman Prawira expects the event to bring more foreign tourists to the region.
"Our target is around 1,000 foreign tourists during the championship as they support their favorite teams," he said.
Esthy Reko Astuti, deputy for tourism development at the ministry, said they fully support the event.
"[The number of] visitors to Bintan Island is the fourth largest in Indonesia after Bali, Batam and Lombok," Esthy said.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya meanwhile said the main destinations in Indonesia are Bali, Jakarta and Riau Islands.
He encouraged the Bintan regional government to create more manmade attractions, such as sports tourism and other events, to attract Singaporean and Malaysian visitors.