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Jambi and Visit Indonesia Year: Sumatra

Jambi province has been preparing local tourist sites and attractions as well as setting up support facilities and infrastructures in its effort to make the Indonesia Visit Year (VIY) 2008 program a success. Jambi Governor H Zulkifli Nurdin has brought all businesspeople dealing with the tourism sector in the province together calling on them to make concerted efforts to make the Visit Indonesia Year (VIY) and Visit Jambi Year (VJY) programs a success.

The local chapter of the Association of the Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (Asita) and the local chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Ihra) had expressed readiness to promote tourist objects both at home and abroad, Zulkifli said.

The governor had also called on relevant state-owned companies including plantation and construction enterprises as well as airlines to take active parts in making the national and local tourism programs a success according to Bambang Purwanto.

This year, Jambi will hold various tourist events including the Muorojambi Temple Festival(May 28-June 2), the Batang Merangin Rafting Championship (May 25-30), the Lake Kerinci Festival (July 17-20) and the Jambi Cultural Week (December 10-15), besides organizing a meeting for all Indonesian men of letters.

The local administration has made the Muorojambi Temple as an integrated cultural, historical, scientific, religious, culinary and agro tourism site.

Head of the Jambi Provincial Culture and Tourism Office, Hj Mualimah Radhiana said the two-kilometer square tourist site has 86 small and big temples.

The temple which is the historical heritage of the Sriwijaya Kingdom and the Islam Malay Kingdom in Jambi becomes an icon in the Visit Indonesia Year (VIY) program.

For the Muarojambi Temple Festival, the Jambi provincial administration was focusing on developing rivulets leading to the temple complex.

“We are offering passage on the Batanghari River to the Muarojambi Temple Festival to guests who can enjoy the views along the river,” Muallimah said.

In addition to the four events, Jambi was also offering the `Mandi Syafar` event (a traditional bathing ritual usually held in the second Islamic month of Syafar) in March, the Jambi Discount Event in February and the Procession of Sahur (eating before daybreak for fasting) in the Ramadhan fasting month.

Jambi is optimistic that the number of tourists it would attract during the VIY 2008 would increase compared to the previous year when the figure was recorded at 616,000, including 5,000 foreign tourists, she said.

The local administration had also cooperated with the association of representatives for the Indonesian Buddhists (Walubi) to hold the Muorojambi Temple Festival in May or in coinciding with the celebration of Buddha`s birth on May 20.

In 2007, the Buddha`s birth was celebrated by thousands of Buddhists from different countries at the Muorojambi Temple some 30 kilometers east of Jambi city.

Besides historical and cultural tourist objects, Jambi will also attract tourists with natural tourist sites like the Kerinci Seblat National Park in Kerinci district.

Kerinci district is one of Jambi`s potential tourist destination as it has interesting natural tourist sites including Lake Kerinci, Lake Gunung Tujuh, Mt. Kerinci, Telun Berasap Waterfalls and hot water bathing places.

In addition, the province also makes Batanghari river a potential tourist destination in support of the Visit Indonesia Year (VIY) program. The river will be made as a water way for tourists to the Muorojambi Temple.

Tour packages

In the meantime, tour operators and travel agents grouped in Asita`s Jambi chapter have been preparing tour packages in support of the Visit Indonesia Year (VIY) program.

Chairman of Asita`s Jambi chapter M Ali Rahman Siwoon said the association in cooperation with businesspeople in other provinces in Indonesia and abroad has been promoting Jambi`s tourism potentials through different activities like the Jambi Travel Mart.

Asita`s Jambi chapter is offering ecotourism objects like the Berbak National Park in Tanjung Jabung Timur district and the Muorojambi Temple which are always visited by a lot of domestic and foreign tourists.

Jambi is also offering other tourist events like the Slank Lovers Parade, the Jambi Adventure City, the Lake Sipin Festival, Fun Tour, Rain Forest Off Road, the International Batik Festival and the Jambi Expo 2008.

Head of the Jambi Provincial Culture and Tourism Office, Hj Mualimah, said Jambi has been ready to make the VIY 2008 a success as it already has 11 star hotels, 107 non-star hotels and seven homestays, 33 reastaurants and 342 food stalls.

She said Jambi has 269 tourist objects, 46 travel agents, five convention facilities and 117 arts groups which can be found in 10 districts and cities in the province.

The government, represented by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, launched the Visit Indonesia Year (VIY) 2008 program on December 26, 2007.

Gearing up to make the Visit Indonesia Year (VIY) 2008 program a success, the Indonesian government is calling on all its regional administrations and embassies abroad to intensively promote the country`s tourism potentials.

On efforts to promote the VIY 2008 abroad, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said the government had made them among others through websites, road shows in several countries and participation in annual tourism mart exhibitions, including those held in Berlin (Germany), London (Britain) and China.

Indonesia`s traditional tourism markets are Japan, Australia, Korea, Taiwan and a number of European countries besides new markets such as China, India, Russia and countries in the Middle East.

In support of the VIY 2008 program, Minister Jero Wacik had also provided Visa On Arrival (VOA) facilities to 63 countries, an increase from 29 countries before his appointment as minister.

Indonesia is promoting its tourist potentials through a Visit Indonesia Year program for a second time. The first time it did so was in 1991.

From the VIY program, the Culture and Tourism Ministry had set a target of earning 6.7 billion US dollars from seven million foreign tourists expected to visit Indonesia.