Bengkulu Lures Tourism Investors: Sumatra

Bengkulu was once rarely visited by travellers but that is slowly on the increase. It is one of the most interesting of provinces on the island of Sumatra.

The provincial capital, Bengkulu, is located on the west coast. A one-time British trading settlement, Bengkulu is steeped in history and this is characterised by the numerous old buildings still standing in the city.

In a Business report in the JP it appears that the governor of
Bengkulu is offering investors in the tourism sector the opportunity to use land along the coast free of charge in an attempt to jump-start the tourism industry in the province.

“But we will only give free land-use rights to investments worth more than Rp 20 billion after we have approved the concept and determined how many workers can be employed as a result of the investment,” Governor Agusrin M. Najamudin said during a gathering in Jakarta to announce the holding of Bengkulu’s annual Tabot Festival from Jan. 19 to 29.

Agusrin said that land-use rights would be granted for periods ranging from 25 to 50 years, adding that the province had 530 kilometers of coastline and was in the process of upgrading its infrastructure so as to become more attractive to investors.

“This is a good approach toward encouraging tourism,” Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said on the sidelines of the gathering.

He added that he was quite sure that Bengkulu, with its colorful Tabot Festival, had the potential to become a top tourist destination.

The festival is an annual event commemorating the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Husein, in the Karbala war in Iraq. It is widely believed that the first Muslims who arrived in Bengkulu province brought the tradition with them.

This year’s festival will be held at the Merdeka Square, also known as Tugu Kampung Cina, in Bengkulu city.

The Tabot Festival is a big event. It should be experienced by people from all over the world,” said Jero.

The Bengkulu administration is hoping that this year’s festival will be attended by some 150,000 domestic and overseas tourists.

Source: The Jakarta Post