Cyclists from Malaysia and Singapore won the Indonesian leg of international cycling competition Gran Fondo New York. (SP Photo/Joanito de Saojoao)

The 2017 Tour de Flores Starts Next Week


JULY 06, 2017

Jakarta. East Nusa Tenggara's second Tour de Flores, scheduled for July 14-19, will gather 100 international cyclists to promote Flores tourism.

The event, sanctioned by the world governing body for sports cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), will cover 721.6 kilometers, starting from the island's easternmost town of Larantuka and finishing in Labuan Bajo in the west.

"Tour de Flores aims to draw the world's attention to Flores and East Nusa Tenggara," Tour de Flores chairman Primus Dorimulu said during a launching event on Wednesday (05/07).

The cyclists will pass through all seven districts in Flores in six race stages.

The first stage covers 138.5 kilometers between Larantuka and Maumere. The subsequent stages are Maumere-Ende (141.3 km), Ende-Mbay (111 km) and Mbay-Borong (151 km).

On the fifth day, racers will go on the shortest, 58-kilometers-long, track between Borong and Ruteng. In the final race from Ruteng to Labuan Bajo they will cover 121.5 km.

Four teams from Indonesia and 16 foreign teams from England, the European Union, Africa, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia have registered to participate in the race. About half of last year's participants will also return to Flores.

In order to further boost the event's tourism appeal, the Tour de Flores organizing committee will hold a social media contest. The Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) will also send its representatives to record the 1 million cups of coffee drinking attempt on the race's final day.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the government fully supports Tour de Flores, knowing its enormous media coverage and the value for promoting the island.

"The direct impact may not be big, only 10 percent, but the 90 percent of the impact is in its media value," he said.

Held for the first time on May 19-24, 2016, Tour de Flores succeeded in drawing huge attention, news coverage and social media interest.

According to Arief, the number of foreign and Indonesian tourists coming to Flores has doubled after the tour, showing the event's effectiveness in attracting visitors.

Arief added that events like the Tour de Flores are in line with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's vision to develop regions by the means of tourism, which generates more jobs and foreign exchange revenue.

East Nusa Tenggara Governor Frans Lebu Raya said the provincial government funds the event from its annual tourism promotion budget.

"The end goal is to attract visitors to our tourism sites," he said.