The Jakarta Post
The annual Sail Indonesia event will be held in Raja Ampat, West Papua, in 2014, in an effort to accelerate economic growth and develop tourism destinations in Indonesia, a senior minister has said.
Coordinating People's Welfare Minister Agung Laksono said on Saturday that such sailing events were in line with the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development (MP3EI) activities for Corridor V which are focused on tourism.
Agung was speaking at the ceremony marking the main event of Sail Komodo 2013 in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai regency, in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
'The organizing of such an international event has to provide a positive impact to increase the people's welfare in East Nusa Tenggara' Agung said in his capacity as the steering committee chairman when delivering a report to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Previous Sail Indonesia events have been Sail Bunaken in North Sulawesi ( 2009 ), Sail Banda in Maluku ( 2010 ), Sail Wakatobi-Bitong in Southeast Sulawesi and Bangka-Belitung Islands ( 2011 ) and Sail Morotai in North Maluku ( 2012 ).
The peak event of Sail Komodo, which started some six months ago, saw various traditional dances as well as a flotilla of yachts, fishing boats and Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) ships.
Agung said that Sail Komodo had led to the extension of the runway at Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo to allow single-aisle jet aircraft to land at the airport. Previously, the airport was limited to only smaller turboprop aircraft.
Yudhoyono and his entourage landed at Komodo Airport aboard a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said her ministry had allocated Rp 10 billion (US$890,000) each for 2013 and 2014 to develop tourist infrastructure in West Manggarai.
'We are providing assistance for tour guides, diving guides as well as efforts to improve souvenirs,' she said.
She added that as the annual Sail Indonesia event was held in a different place every year, foreign tourists, especially yachters, would return to Labuan Bajo.
Yudhoyono said Indonesia should be proud to have the Komodo dragon which is directly linked to the pre-historic era. Komodo was named by UNESCO as a world heritage site on Dec. 19, 1991.
NTT Governor Frans Lebu Raya requested the President name a navy ship or submarine after the Komodo. However, it is unlikely a submarine would be named Komodo as the Navy traditionally uses the names of magical weapons from the Mahabharata epic or snakes and fish.
Yudhoyono has conferred Komodo as the name of an armored tactical and reconnaissance vehicle manufactured by state-owned arms and vehicles maker PT Pindad in its facilities in Bandung, West Java.