The Jakarta Post
The greenish-blue waters of Raja Ampat as seen from the top of Piaynemo, West Papua. (The Jakarta Post/Gisela Swaragita)
West Papua’s prime tourist destination and diving haven Raja Ampat Islands regency is set to reopen to domestic tourists on Saturday after being closed for months to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Raja Ampat will be [available] for domestic tourists on Saturday,” said the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry's deputy of tourism product and event organizer, Rizki Handayani, during a live-streamed event on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.
According to Rizki, the ministry worked with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) to prepare new protocols for diving activities in Raja Ampat waters.
“We composed [the new protocols] together for diving operators. I know diving enthusiasts can’t wait to jump into the waters,” he said.
Rizki is confident that Raja Ampat is safe from the pandemic, as nearby regency Tambrauw has been declared a green zone with a lower risk of virus transmission.
“I heard that Sorong is not yet a green zone but Tambrauw is, and now I'm sure that Raja Ampat is also green. However, we have to maintain health protocols so that Raja Ampat can stay safe from COVID-19."
Raja Ampat Islands are located at the northwest tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua. The small archipelago comprises 1,500 islets, cays and shoals surrounding four main islands: Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo.
The destination is famous for its pristine greenish-blue waters and rich biodiversity. It is recognized as a paradise for divers and snorkelers who can view colorful fish amid coral reefs in almost all parts of the region. (gis/kes)
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