Treasures of The Deep
As an archipelagic country, Indonesia keeps a hoard of secrets of natural beauty that is worth discovering. Not only is Indonesia beautiful on the surface, deep down below the surface of the waves are well-kept ‘treasures’.
We all know that Indonesia is one of the world’s favourite diving destinations. Its islands have more than 600 diving points spread across the archipelago that offer beautiful underwater scenes teeming with rare marine life frolicking under the deep blue. Not only divers, surfers also share the same obsession that Indonesia’s waves are filled with thrills. This country has world-class waves that attract thousands of surfers who visit the country regularly.
The waters around Indonesia, of course, hold resources beyond waves and its beautiful underwater views. These resources, for instance, have supported this country as one of the world’s biggest seaweed, tuna, and pearl exporters. And with its vast sea territory that connects Australian and Asian continents, the shipping industry is also another promising business. Indonesia also has several shipping ports, some of which are international.
Seeing that the sea could generate such extensive income for the country, the government lately focused its efforts on promoting the marine territory. Several sailing and marine events have been successfully hosted in some famous marine areas such as Belitung, Wakatobi, and Bunaken, including this year’s sailing event that will take place in Morotai, North Maluku, in September 2012.
The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (MTCE) and Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fishery (MMAF) never cease in in their efforts to promote and raise awareness of the potential of Indonesia’s marine territory. Last month and for the following three months, Indonesia joined Korea’s marine event, Expo Yeosu Korea 2012, to promote its potential to 8 million expected visitors.
This year MTCE also focuses on developing cruiseship tourism to attract more cruises visiting the country. According to statements on the ministry’s official site, www.budpar.go.id, Mari Elka Pangestu, The Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy said that they are targeting 119,000 cruise tourists with arrivals of 200 units within this year. To support this, the government sets aside an annual budget of 7 billion and focus on redeveloping infrastructures that support cruise tourism, especially the ports.
Indonesia has 25 active ports with strategic locations for cruise visits, and the MTCE prioritized 10 to be redeveloped, including the Benoa port in Bali, Tanjung Mas in Semarang and Tanjung Perak in Surabaya. This redevelopment is expected to create a multiplier effect on the economy, especially to the surrounding areas, therefore the government prepares.
According to the site, there are at least three advantages which can be achieved from the development of the cruise industry: first, it can bring tourists to visit some hard-to-reach yet spectacular destinations via land transportation, second, it can minimize the need of accommodation during the visits, and third, tourists can easily explore to know more about the wealth of each destination, such as the food, culture, art, etc.
Besides what is mentioned above, Indonesia has a lot to offer that waits to be discovered. Cruises, sea products, surfing and diving, are among the few and there are still many other treasures to be explored below the waves. But despite the enthusiasm of promoting and the promising future of what the tourism industry can add to the country’s economy, should there be any extra effort to be concerned about the environment?
Last month the world-class surfer Kelly Slater shocked the world with his tweet commenting about Bali’s water condition. “If Bali doesn’t #DoSomething serious about this pollution it’ll be impossible to surf here in a few years. Worst I’ve ever seen.” Bali, the tourism icon of Indonesia, always struggles with the large amount of trash that appears on its beaches every year.
It’s a shame to see, and with its successful history of tourism, Bali should act as the example of how other tourist destinations in this country should perform.
Trash is a major issue, and if it’s neglected, it will affect the tourism industry. Since Indonesia depends on the beauty of its nature to attract tourists visiting the country, the government should also focus on waste management not only in certain tourist destinations, but also all across the country. Otherwise it could become a time bomb ticking to explode. Of course it could be very embarrassing if divers or cruise tourists come from far away just to see floating plastic in the ocean, and even worse, if they tweet about it.
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Posted by » Bali and Beyond Magazine