Promoting Southeast Sulawesi Tourism in Middle East

THE Indonesian province of Southeast Sulawesi has several alluring tourist attractions, such as Bokori Island and Wakatobi, but they are not widely known among travelers across the world due to the lack of promotion.

In a bid to attract as many Middle East tourists as possible to Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar Basri Sidehabi has committed to promoting the provinces tourism potential in the country.

Speaking at a public discussion titled "Opportunities and Challenges in Qatar for Southeast Sulawesis Potential" in Kendari re, Sidehabi said he will help promote the provinces tourism attractions in the Middle East.

Hence, he has called on the managers of tourism attractions in Southeast Sulawesi to prepare interesting brochures to be distributed in Qatar and other countries in the Middle East.

"There is no need to speak a lot about the potential of tourism in Southeast Sulawesi, but now, prepare as many attractive brochures as possible to serve as promotional material in Qatar and other Middle East countries," Sidehabi told the tourism managers in the province.

Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar explained that well-off businessmen and people of the Middle East, especially from Qatar, have expressed high interest to visit countries, with exotic tourist attractions, provided that the facilities are satisfactory.

He said the first thing confirmed by prospective travelers in Qatar while scheduling a visit to a place or destination country is a hotel. Hence, if there are no five-star hotels, then they will certainly cancel their trip.

Another important aspect is the peace and comfort in their area or country of destination.

"Tourists from the Middle East are rich people who are seeking comfort and pleasure in the destination country of travel. Hence, hotels and other supporting tourism facilities in Southeast Sulawesi must be improved for them," Sidehabi noted.

With Bokori Island and Wakatobi as the mainstay marine tourist destinations, Southeast Sulawesi has several historical and cultural attractions, arts, culinary delicacies, and environmental tourism to offer to visitors.

With its scenic beauty, warm waters, and white sandy beaches, Bokori Island is an ideal getaway in Southeast Sulawesi Province for tourists and local residents to unwind.

Southeast Sulawesi Tourism and Creative Economy Office Chief Zainal Koedoes remarked that the government had allocated a significant amount of funds, through state and local budgets, to develop the tourism sector of Bokori Islands.

Furthermore, Koedoes said the Southeast Sulawesi provincial government was offering investment opportunities to anyone keen on investing in the tourism sector on Bokori Island.

"We are offering broader opportunities to anyone keen to invest in developing tourism on Bokori Island," he had remarked in Kendari some time ago.

Koedoes said the local government, as the facilitator, will prepare initial facilities for investors to boost the economy of the island.

Further, he reiterated that the opportunity was wide open for investors keen on developing the tourism sector and creative economy in Bokori Island, which is situated in the district of Konawe.

He admitted that Bokori Island was a tourist destination in the region located administratively in Konawe.

"Bokori Island is beautiful and serves as one of the main tourist destinations after Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi," Koedoes remarked.

According to Koedoes, the Departments of Tourism, Public Works, Transportation, Forestry, Food Security, and Marine and Fisheries are working together to develop Bokori Island into a tourist destination in the province.

"There are already 11 cottages, a meeting hall, and gazebo on the island, and this year, we want to increase the number of such facilities," Koedoes remarked.

Southeast Sulawesi Governor Nur Alam affirmed that Bokori Island will continue to be promoted as a tourist destination in the province.

Covered by natural forests and extensive plantations of teak and ironwood, vast swathes of the Southeast Sulawesi Province are ideal for visitors who prefer challenging adventures and ecotourism.

In addition, there are several diving and snorkeling spots around the province, such as at Tolitoli, Hari Island, Baubau, Labengki Island, and Wakatobi Marine National Park.

The Wakatobi National Park has a total area spanning 1.39 million hectares. It ranks as one of the highest priorities in marine conservation in Indonesia owing to the scale and condition of its marine biodiversity.

Hence, the government of Wakatobi District in Southeast Sulawesi is inviting both local and foreign investors to invest in the districts tourism sector.

Driven largely by the districts unique historical, cultural, and natural attractions, Wakatobis tourism sector will continue to grow at a promising rate in the years to come.

The Ministry of Tourism is tasked with developing the industry through its implementing agency -- the Wakatobi District Office of Creative Economy and Tourism -- which is responsible for developing and promoting the local tourism sector.

Indicators showing the growth of the tourism sector underscore the need for accommodation and other facilities to service the growing number of visitors to Wakatobi.

The local Creative Economy and Tourism Office Chief Nadar is currently calling for investment in hotel accommodations and visitor facilities in Wakatobi for tourists to enjoy the major attractions across the district.  [antaranews/photo special]