Jakarta. Sara Island Festival in Talaud, North Sulawesi, to be held on July 2, will be part of a spectacular series of so-called "cross-border tourism" events organized by Indonesia's Tourism Ministry.
A series of competitions — including photography, sports and music — will be held during the festival to highlight the natural beauty and cultural traditions of the island.
"The government has been wanting to promote tourism in Talaud for some time. This festival will be the perfect start," Talaud District Head Maria Manalip said on Sunday (18/06).
The Tourism Ministry has set Talaud as one its main cross-border tourist attractions as it shares boundaries with the Philippines and has a clear view of the Pacific Ocean.
Natural attractions to be found in Talaud include the Karakelang Island, famous for its beautiful beaches, the Weta Cave, the Ampadoap Waterfall and the Bannada cultural village.
Karakelang's Eastern Coast beach, for example, stretches for 12 kilometers and faces directly to the Pacific Ocean.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said Talaud has the potential to attract many international visitors, and not only from the Philippines.
"Countries in Europe, like France and Spain, have done a great job promoting cross-border tourism. Malaysia as well, they've been attracting many travelers from Singapore. We should learn from them," Arief said.
"Talaud can definitely do it. The key is, more events will attract more people," the minister added.