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Sunday, June 6, 2010

ANTARA News: More Tourists To Visit Papua For Lake Sentani Festival

ANTARA News: More Tourists To Visit Papua For Lake Sentani Festival

Thursday, June 3, 2010 16:21 WIB | Features | | Viewed 456 time(s)
Otniel TamindaelJakarta, (ANTARA News) - More foreign as well as domestic tourists are expected to visit Indonesia`s easternmost province of Papua this year for the Lake Sentani Festival (LSF).

Themed "Loving Culture for Our Future," the Lake Sentani Festival (LSF) from June 19 to 23, 2010, is designed to attract as many domestic and foreign tourists as possible.

Jayapura district head Habel Melkias Suwae said Jayapura city on Thursday the Lake Sentani festival this year would be the third of its kind since the first one in 2008.

"The first festival in 2008 attracted around 2,000 foreign and domestic tourists. The number rose to around 5,000 in the second event. This year in the third festival, we hope to see more than 10,000 tourists," Habel said.

He added various preparations were being made to esnure the annual event`s success.

According to him, this year`s event would serve as a year-long gateway for the tourism industry in the province of Papua.

In 2008, the Papua Tourism Office organized the first Lake Sentani Festival from July 16 to 19 to support the annual Baliem Valley Festival in Jayawijaya district.

Since then, the festival was held as an effort to protect the culture of Jayapura district, especially at the areas around Lake Sentani.

Located some 75 meters above sea level and surrounded by beautiful hills, the 3.63-hectare Lake Sentani is a perfect place for fishing, swimming, canoeing, skiing, and other kinds of water sports.

"No wonder, Lake Sentani Festival will serve as a year-long gateway for the tourism industry in Jayapura district specifically and in Papua province in general," Habel Melkias Suwae said.

It means, he said, that in this case tourism will strengthen the identity of the people of Papua, preserve their traditional and cultural values, step up their economy.

Therefore, Habel added that the Jayapura district administration would make every effort to develop the attractive villages around Lake Sentani to constantly attract as many tourists as possible.

"This year`s Lake Sentani Festival is themed `Loving Culture for Our Future` because whoever loves and preserves traditional and cultural values, will also prepare the future of the future generation," Habel said.

According to him, the festival this year was projected to attract more foreign and domestic tourists, and to step up relations between Papua with other provinces in the country.

Habel said being of Melanesian stock, Papuan people were ethnically different but at the Lake Sentani Festival, Papuan people and their culture and traditions would be introduced to both the national and international communities.

"It is because we want to know each other better to strengthen our big national family and to build our mutual trust," Habel said, adding that unlike other events, the Lake Sentani Festival would present guests with dance performances, local customs and antiques, as well as sightseeing tours to historical sites and a tourist village near the lake.

Habel said the festival committee had prepared 1,500 dancers from 24 villages around the lake, while villagers have been encouraged to accommodate the guests and tourists in their own homes to show their sincere hospitality.

Meanwhile, Lake Sentani Festival promotion manager Mian Simanjuntak said his team was working to promote the event through hotel associations and airlines, both at home and abroad, and at cultural events in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.

Besides tourists and guests, even Vatican Ambassador to Indonesia Mgr Leopoldo Girelli is scheduled to visit the arena at Kalkote resort in Jayapura district on Sunday, June 13, 2010.

Jayapura episcopal spokesman Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar said on Thursday that the Vatican Nuncios Apostolic Mgr Leopoldo Girelli would visit the land of Papua next week.

"The Vatican envoy will come to Papua as part of his pastoral mission, but he will also take time to visit the Lake Sentani Festival arena to obtain first hand information about preparations for such an annual cultural event," Bishop Leo Laba Ladjar said in Jayapura, the capital city of Papua province.

According to him, the Vatican envoy was profoundly interested in the Lake Sentani Festival, themed "Loving Culture for Our Future," because for him, whoever loves and preserves traditional and cultural values, the same has prepared an expected future for the next generation.

The bishop said that in principle, the Catholic Church in Papua respected the local culture and tradition as an integral part of the life of local people.

And again, Habel Melkias Suwae said he had been informed by Bishor Leo Laba Ladjar that the Vatican envoy during his pastoral mission in Papua would visit Lake Sentani Festival arena.

"As the host, the Jayapura provincial administration and the people will sincerely receive the visit to Papua by the Vatican ambassador to Indonesia," Habel said.

He added that the people in Papua were made up of different ethnicities and religions but they could coexist in perfect harmony with one commitment to preserving the values of local tradition and culture.

He said Lake Sentani Festival would be a momentum to strengthen the local tradition and culture and to introduce it to international community.(*)

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