The Jakarta Post
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and East Nusa Tenggara Tourism Agency have agreed to develop the Sawu Sea, which has a large whale population, for maritime tourism with whale viewing to lure tourists.
Head of the provincial Tourism and Creative Economy Agency Marius Ardu Jelamu said on Monday the whale attraction would be centered in three locations: Solor-Lewotobi in East Flores regency, Ile Ape-Lamalera in Lembata regency and Paket Alor-Pantar in Alor regency.
"The East Nusa Tenggara provincial government welcomes this initiative to boost the tourism industry," Jelamu said in the provincial capital of Kupang as reported by Antara.
Sawu Sea, a migration corridor for whales and dolphins, is a promising spot to be developed into a marine tourist attraction.
The survey of Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) conducted by TNC in the last few years, identified that at least 10 sea mammals, including 14 species of whales, seven species of dolphins and a species of sea cow live in Sawu Sea.
Whale and dolphin viewing would contribute to rapidly growing maritime tourism that has been developed in 90 countries around the world. Categorized as new tourism, whale and dolphin viewing can also be developed in the seas of Sunda Kecil, Banda and Raja Ampat.
The Waters National Park of the Sawu Sea, the breeding spot for the whales, is referred as a "cafe" for the blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), where the tourists could directly observe their natural habitat. (bbn)