The Jakarta Post
As the only country that will view a total solar eclipse on March 9, Indonesia is set to use the phenomenon to boost foreign visitor arrivals.
When a similar phenomenon occurred in Queensland in 2012, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said recently, Australia attracted 60,000 visitors, included 1,200 Japanese researchers who arrived on chartered aircraft. It also promised high promotional value, with around 20 million people watching the live broadcast provided by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA ).
"At least four cruise companies have registered to sail in Indonesia during the total solar eclipse, namely National Geographic's Orion Cruise, Caledonian Cruise, Coral Princess Cruise and Peter Deilmann Cruise. [State-owned shipping firm] PT Pelni has also prepared to turn three ships into floating hotels in Bangka, Belitung, Palu [in Sulawesi] and Ternate [in North Maluku]," said Arief in a press release on Monday.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, totally or partly obscuring the image of the sun from earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon's apparent diameter is larger than the sun's, blocking all direct sunlight and turning day into darkness.
This year's total solar eclipse will last for around three minutes in the eastern part of Indonesia starting from 9 a.m. local time, while the western part will experience eclipse for around two minutes at 7:30 a.m. local time.
The rare event will be consecutively visible in 12 provinces: Bengkulu, West Sumatra, Jambi, South Sumatra, Bangka Belitung, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi and North Maluku.
Provincial governments have prepared interesting events to attract tourists to stay longer and turn the regions into popular destinations. South Sumatra, for instance, is slated to hold a glowing night run, cultural performances, a photo competition, lantern releases and educational tours for school children in cooperation with the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space ( LAPAN ).
Other parts of Indonesia will experience partial solar eclipse along with other parts of Southeast Asia, such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manila and Bangkok, as well as northern and eastern Australia.
While the total solar eclipse will see more than 90 percent of the sun covered, from Java 50 to 60 percent will be covered. ( kes )( + )