The Jakarta Post
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo sits on a sandalwood horse as he talks to Northeast Sumba Regent Markus D. Tallo (right) during the 1001 Sandalwood Parade in Waetabula, Sumba Island, on July 12. (State Palace Press Bureau/Kris)
President Joko Widodo and first lady Iriana traveled to Southwest Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) on July 12 to attend Tenun Ikat Sumba Festival and 1001 Sandalwood Horses Parade.
The festival, dedicated to woven fabric (tenun ikat) is slated to run from July 12 to 15 while the 1001 Sandalwood Horses Parade ran from July 3 until 12.
During his speech at the event, the President made a comment on Sandalwood pony that symbolizes knighthood and is sometimes presented as dowry and nose-kissing tradition that the president himself encountered upon his arrival on the island, “It [nose-kissing tradition] symbolizes the breath of life,” said Jokowi.
“Tenun Ikat Sumba Festival and 1001 Sandalwood Horses Parade are two real examples of how nature is providing us with local cultures that end up leading the tourism sector,” he added.
The president also hopes that the Sandalwood Horses Parade and Tenun Ikat Sumba Festival will be held continuously so the culture will be sustained and keep on attracting tourists even on low seasons.
"The event has to be managed in a modern way, utilizing various social media as a promotion tool and inviting bloggers to Sumba to support the promotion. If necessary, we can involve local or international film directors who want to produce their films with the beautiful Sumba as the background. This way, NTT will be recognized abroad," the president said.
After lunchtime, at 02:00 p.m., both President and the First Lady departed for Makassar, South Sulawesi via Tambolaka Airport. (asw)