Jakarta. At least 150 foreign tourists on 28 yachts will take part in international boating event "Wonderful Sail Anambas to Natuna 2017" on June 6-15.
Esthy Reko Astuti, the Ministry of Tourism's deputy for marketing development, said the government is partnering with the organization behind another boating event, "Sail Malaysia Passage to the East," which sees yachters race from Langkawai island to Sandakan in Sabah on Malaysian Borneo.
After that event, yachters will then travel to the Anambas Islands in Riau, where the Wonderful Sail race will kick off. Boaters are expected to arrive in the Natuna Islands, also in Riau, by June 15.
"Yachters are currently sailing to Anambas, where they are expected to arrive on June 6-10. We will hold a clearance process to allow the racers entry into our sailing event [...] we will also host a gala dinner before they depart to Natuna," Esthy said in Jakarta on Saturday (03/06).
Central and regional governments have been cooperating in recent months to promote the Anambas and Natuna Islands as global sailing destinations, while the Tourism Ministry has been working to encourage further build-up of maritime infrastructure in the area.
"Aside from promoting the great maritime potentials of [Natuna and Anambas], the event is expected to provide a direct economic impact to locals [...] and establish Indonesia as a prime destination for sailing in the Asia-Pacific," Esthy said.
"We guarantee the event will be interesting [...] the added beauty of Anambas won't hurt either."
The island chain's tourism agency head Iwan K. Roni said a number of welcoming events for the yachters have already proceeded and preparations for others are underway.
"Preparations for the welcome dance are complete. We are also planning a diving and snorkeling expedition for the tourists in waters near Penjalin Island and a city tour of Tarempa," Iwan said.
The Tourism Ministry has prepared numerous programs in a bid to attract up to 1,000 foreign yachters to destinations across the archipelago this year, and to compete with Singapore's marine tourism sector, which sees nearly 4,000 foreign yachters enter its waters annually.
To dock in the city-state, however, costs around $1,100, not including other expenses borne by the yachters. Indonesia has been working to cut its own prices down to attract some of Singapore's market.
"If they come to love Indonesia, they will stay for longer. We have world-class maritime tourism facilities [...] we have been ranked among the best," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.