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Lake Toba Festival to be scrapped after failing to attract visitors

Apriadi Gunawan

The Jakarta Post

Medan, North Sumatra  /  Wed, January 15, 2020  /  01:07 pm
Lake Toba Festival to be scrapped after failing to attract visitors

A fisherman sails on Lake Toba, North Sumatra. (Shutterstock/DH Saragih)

The North Sumatra administration has said it will cancel the annual Lake Toba Festival this year, following the small turnout in December 2019.

North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi said the festival would be evaluated. 

“There will still be a festival, but the name and activities will be different,” Edy told the press at his office on Dec. 13, adding that events considered to have contributed to attracting tourists to Lake Toba would be maintained.

Edy said his administration could no longer rely on the festival as its latest edition had failed to attract visitors.

To increase visits, especially that of foreigners, he said activities in the Lake Toba region must be presented in such a way that was attractive to tourists. He cited examples, such as incorporating an international triathlon with the festival. 

“We will organize other activities to make tourists interested in visiting Lake Toba,” Edy said.

North Sumatra Culture and Tourism Agency head Ria Novida Telaumbanua said one of the reasons the festival would be scrapped was the date change from December to June, during school holidays.

Read also: Toba Lake Festival fails to bring in tourists

“As the event was moved to June, there was very little time to prepare and we decided to cancel this year's festival,” Ria told the press at the North Sumatra Legislative Council.

North Tapanuli Regent Nikson Nababan disagreed with the cancellation.

“It’s the quality of activities that needs to be improved, so the festival is not seen as boring. This [cancellation] was a bad decision,” Nikson told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Samosir Regent Rapidin Simbolon also expressed his disapproval, saying that the festival had not reached its potential.

He suggested that the festival be managed by a professional event organizer while still involving all stakeholders in the region.

RE Nainggolan, a North Sumatra community leader, said the festival needed to be evaluated and improvements.

“The festival has become an annual event and it’s been well known since the 1980s,” Nainggolan said. (syk/wng)

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