The Jakarta Post
Sumba island is famous for its horses. (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)
Gaining popularity in the past few years among travelers, East Nusa Tenggara enters 2019 with a strong determination to conquer tourism. Kompas.com reported that the province’s Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat, along with Deputy Governor Josef Adrianus Nai Soi, is set to further develop tourism and hence the people’s welfare.
The deputy governor explained that the development of tourism in East Nusa Tenggara would be synchronized with the growth of other sectors, namely trade and agriculture. Therefore, all food will be sourced from the province itself.
He went on to say that the governor had advised residents to convert their houses into homestays for travelers so that residents could earn money. Bedrooms and toilets must also meet a good standard to accommodate travelers from across the globe.
“East Nusa Tenggara has to be among the most sought-after destinations in the world, as it has unique nature and distinct culture,” said the deputy governor at the opening of Reba, a traditional celebration held by the Langa people at Bajawa subdistrict, Ngada regency in Flores on Tuesday.
To attract more travelers to the region, East Nusa Tenggara also holds six annual festivals that have been acknowledged by the provincial administration.
The festival celebrates catching whales using traditional tools, regularly held by the Lamalera people in Lembata regency. The festival symbolizes the teamwork and unity of the fishermen in the area, with certain rules that make the practice environmentally friendly. Only certain types of whales are allowed to be caught and the tools used are limited to traditional ones.
Semana Santa festival
The centuries-old tradition of Semana Santa is still carried out in East Flores regency. Residents of East Flores take part in a procession on Good Friday. Visitors come from across Indonesia and the globe to join the festivities and the residents along with the local church play host.
Sikka woven textile festival
Held in Sikka regency, this festival promotes authentic Flores woven textiles. The provincial administration is now set to provide more support to woven textile artisans, taking cue from private organizations who previously empowered the weavers to promote their works. The upcoming woven textile festival will involve 1000 weavers who will create textiles on a square at the center of Maumere city.
The colors of the Kelimutu lake are the pride of Ende regency. Those who are interested in marveling at the beauty of the three-colored lake should attend the Kelimutu festival. Ende is also a regency with significant history, hosting Indonesia’s first president Sukarno who was exiled there. It is also the place where the state ideology Pancasila was initially thought of.
Reba Ngada festival
Held every Jan. 15, people enjoy sweet potatoes, which is the staple of Ngada regency. The residents of Ngada also plant sweet potatoes during the festival. While visiting Ngada, travelers might also like to go on a detour to Bena and Tololela customary villages.
One thousand horses and Pasola festival
Sumba island is famous for its horses and the horse festival is held annually. The festival features participants on horseback throwing wooden spears, as well as a procession in Marapu traditional village. Pasola, a thanksgiving ritual, is usually held seven days after full moon. (mut)