Sumba preparing to host sandalwood horse parade, 'tenun ikat' festival

Sumba in East Nusa Tenggara is set to host an international festival that will highlight sandalwood horses and tenun ikat (traditional woven fabrics).

Slated to kick off in May, has reported that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will attend the event, which will feature a parade of thousands of horses and a tenun ikat exhibition.

The parade will begin in Waingapu in East Sumba regency, then continue to Waibakul in Central Sumba regency, Waikabubak in West Sumba regency and end in Tambolaka in Southwest Sumba regency.

Meanwhile, the exhibition will be held across all regencies and will involve both local administrations and residents. East Nusa Tenggara Creative Economy and Tourism Agency head Marius Ardu Kelamu said the event aimed to promote the island’s landscape and cultural beauty.

“The festival will help create the island’s brand and promote to the world that sandalwood horses originate from Sumba,” he said. (JakartaPost)

Festival indonesia in Russia part of economic diplomacy

The Indonesian Embassy in Moscow will again host the Festival Indonesia this year as part of economic diplomacy efforts to promote superior products and the potential of Indonesia.

Preparation is now underway for the festival, scheduled for August 4 to 6, 2017, in order to be of a great success, according to Ridwan Hassan, the foreign affairs ministers expert staff in the field of economic diplomacy.

Hassan made the statement in a coordination meeting in preparation for the Festival Indonesia 2017 in Moscow.

Present at the coordination meeting were around 140 representatives from numerous companies and business associations engaged in various fields, such as crafts, culinary, fashion, agriculture and horticulture commodities, logistics, and tourism.

The Festival Indonesia 2017 is expected to have tangible results to increase investment from Russia and Indonesian exports to the country, as well as increasing the number of Russian tourists to Indonesia.

"The magnitude of the opportunities in Moscow for Indonesia is seen from Indonesian exports to Russia which have increased significantly in the last two years," Hassan remarked.

According to him, the upcoming Festival Indonesia this year in Moscow is the second of its kind after the first one in August 2016 which was a mixture of entertainment events including cultural performances from five different regions in Indonesia. 

Exhibitions during the festival last year featured a traditional wedding ceremony, a show demonstrating Indonesias leading fashion designers and a classical Javanese shadow puppet theater.

The festival displayed products ranging from handicrafts to furniture and also offered traditional food and drinks, yoga, palm-reading and other activities over the course of two days from August 20-21, 2016.

Wahid Supriyadi, the Indonesian ambassador to Russia, explained that the Indonesia Festival 2017 in Moscow could be visited by around 90,000 people.

The Festival Indonesia this year to promote superior products of Indonesia will be enlivened by among other things, business forum, products exhibition, Indonesian arts and cultural performances, and information services on Indonesia.

Indonesia and Russia have made every effort to expand cooperation in various fields, particularly to increase trade between both nations.

The economic cooperation between the two countries complements each other and gets closer and closer after the leaders established national priorities regarding social and economic developments for the next ten years. 

At present, Indonesia and Russia actively cooperate in the fields of civil aviation, mining, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, development of transport infrastructure, industrial chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

A number of new areas of cooperation have become priorities in bilateral relations between the two countries and are expected to boost the two countries trade volume.

Among the cooperation fields are oil and gas, aviation, aerospace, maritime and shipping, agriculture, satellite technology and communications systems, high-technology and banking.

The stronger economic relations between Indonesia and Russia offer new opportunities for Russias technology projects and commodities to enter the Indonesian market.

The Russia-Indonesia Business Council held the Russia-Indonesia Business Forum in October 2016 in Jakarta to discuss those mutually beneficial opportunities.

The main purpose of this forum was to bridge the information gap between business circles of both countries amidst the economic turbulence and destabilization of the global economy, Russia-Indonesia Business Council CEO Mikhail Kuritsyn said at the time.

The presidents of both countries had met on the sidelines of the Russia-ASEAN Summit 2016 in Sochi in May.

The current world economic development clearly shows that cooperation, when carried out in an open way, can boost competitiveness and improve the investment climate.

These two things guarantee the sustainability of economic development of every country, not just Russia and Indonesia.

During the ASEAN-Russia Summit in May 2016, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and President Vladimir Putin held a bilateral meeting to discuss efforts to expand cooperation in various fields, especially to increase trade between both nations.

President Jokowi at the time lauded his Russian counterpart Putin for the well-established cooperation between the two nations.

According to Jokowi, the bilateral relations between Russia and Indonesia have grown stronger and are based on the values of friendship, equality, mutual respect, and understanding.

"We realize that the potential for further cooperation can be developed. We can take the cooperation to a higher level, not only bilateral but also in regional or global forums," Jokowi asserted.

Moreover, President Putin also praised Indonesias efforts. Putin affirmed that the cooperation between Russia and Indonesia was blooming and includes the new development sectors.

Putin expressed his optimism of the bilateral trade which increased by 14 percent during the first three months in 2016.

"We paid special attention to prospects for the development of trade. After a certain downturn in the volume of trade last year, positive dynamics have emerged this year: during the first three months of the year, the volume of bilateral trade increased by nearly 14 percent. I am sure that it is within our power not only to maintain this pace, but also to provide an additional impulse to the further development of our business ties," the Russian president noted at the time.

The two countries also agreed to boost Russian investment in Indonesia, particularly in the fields of maritime, infrastructure, oil and gas, energy, and electricity.

Putin also noted that Russia was ready to provide all necessary assistance to its Indonesian partners for implementing infrastructure projects.(Antara)

Indonesia, Russia explore ways to cooperate in tourism sector

 The Russian government and the Makassar city government in Indonesia are exploring ways to cooperate in the fields of trade, tourism and investment.

"We came here today for further discussions on strengthening the cooperation, as already discussed," Indonesian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Wahid Supriyadi, said in Makassar city on Friday.

He said the cooperation his country is looking for in the fields of tourism, trade and investment, is part of the sister city development program.

Supriyadi noted that Makassar city will also participate in the Indonesia Festival scheduled for August 4 to 6, 2017 in Moscow city, Russia.

"Makassar will participate in the Indonesia Festival, which will be held from August 4 to 6 in Moscow. We have come here to discuss all things related to the sister city program," he reiterated.

He informed that 90 thousand Russian citizens were expected to visit the Indonesia Festival. The festival will feature business meetings, exhibitions and Indonesian cultural performances.

He pointed out that Russia offers major market opportunities that Indonesian people can benefit from. These are being offered through the second Indonesia Festival. The Indonesian embassy to Russia in Moscow city has also invited participants from Indonesia to take part in the festival.

"We hope the festival can deliver real results when it comes to increasing Indonesian exports to Russia and increasing Russian investment in Indonesia, besides enhancing the number of Russian tourists visiting Indonesia," he stressed.

The Mayor of Makassar, Moh Ramdhan Pomanto, who received the Indonesian Ambassador to Russia and his entourage, expressed his happiness and lauded the Indonesian Embassy for implementing the Indonesia Festival. The event, he added, will allow the Makasar city to introduce its culture and culinary skills to the Russian society.

"This is a great opportunity for us to introduce various potentials of Makassar city to foreign countries. Makassar has twice been invited to organize cultural and culinary festival in Spain," he recalled.(Antara) 

Bali adjudged best island for 12th successive year

Photo document of a foreign tourists photographing Subak (management of local tradition) of rice fields in Jatiluwih, Tabanan, Bali. Covering an area of ​​303 hectares of rice field in Tabanan regency is now protected from land conversion once managed a tourist attraction after the Subak recognition by UNESCO as world cultural heritage. (ANTARA Foto/Nyoman Budhiana)
The DestinAsian Readers Choice Award (RCA) 2017 was bestowed on Bali for being named the best island destination for the 12th consecutive year.

"We laud the award given in Singapore on February 15, 2017," Deputy for International Marketing Development of the Ministry of Tourism I Gde Pitana stated here on Thursday.

The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism was invited to receive the award. 

DestinAsian had implemented an open voting system for over 12 years and has bestowed awards based on the readers choice.

The voters highlighted areas, such as staff hospitality, quality of service, convenience of location, facilities, and culinary attractions.

The poll was conducted in August and October 2016, featuring 31 different categories, including hotels and resorts, serviced residences, spas, airlines, airports, and destinations.

DestinAsian Publisher Ronald Liem said there were some changes made in DestinAsian RCA this year in an attempt to offer greater freedom and competitive value.

"In addition to including several new categories, the DestinAsian has expanded in areas, such as special awards for the industry in some countries, and the assessment is no longer only given to the first and second winners but also to those on the top 10 list," he revealed.

Bali had earlier been selected as one of the worlds best islands by the US Travel+Leisure Magazine at the end of 2015.

Based on the New York-based Travel+Leisure Magazine, the ratings of the worlds best islands are the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, with a score of 90.82; Bali in Indonesia, 88.98; the Maldives, 88.53; Tasmania in Australia, 88.32; Santorini in Greece, 87.93; Moorea in French Polynesia, 87.9; Maui in Hawaii, 87.89; Kauai in Hawaii, 87.88; the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, 87.31; and Malta, 86.9.

Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office A.A. Yuniartha Gede Putra stated that the foreign tourist arrivals in Bali are expected to reach 5.5 million in 2017.

Putra remarked that foreign tourists in Bali mainly came from 10 countries: Australia, China, Japan, the Great Britain, France, India, Malaysia, the US, Germany, and South Korea.

"Given the uniqueness of Balinese art and culture, it attracts tourists from various countries around the world," Putra noted.

Putra said he had promoted the region in various countries to attract more travelers to Bali. The Ministry of Tourism has also undertaken similar efforts.

Besides this, steps were taken to boost cultural tourism, as Bali has its own regional identity.

He urged everyone to ensure that the local tourism department functions smoothly, so that tourists in Bali feel safe and comfortable, as they enjoy their holidays.


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The Wakatobi islands are a remote treasure chest of unspoiled natural beauty. Located in the Sulawesi Tenggara Province, this regency is the perfect destination for travellers looking for a tranquil island getaway far from the sun worshipping crowds. The regency of Wakatobi is an acronym of the islands comprising Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko. Celebrated as having one of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the world, Wakatobi has no shortage of attractions. Come here for an enriching experience where you can explore the breath-taking surroundings, indulge in the unique food and culture and participate in a number of refreshing activities. To reach Wakatobi there are now regular Wings Air flights direct from Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi.
Wakatobi is a secluded haven you will not want to leave. 
1. Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
The amazing marine diversity and reefs of Wakatobi have attracted scuba divers and snorkel enthusiasts from all over the world. With over 750 different species of coral and 942 species of fish, Wakatobi has the highest number of reef and fish species ever recorded. It is the second largest barrier reef in the world and encompasses a spectacular 1.4 million hectares - 900,000 of which is tropical coral reefs.
The famous Jacques Cousteau, named Wakatobi as the finest diving site in the world and called this magnificent place of natural beauty an ‘underwater nirvana’.
The diverse and colourful marine life together with its pristine clear waters and breathtaking pinnacles, ridges, and cliffs, make this underwater landscape a superb diving destination like no other. 
2. The Bajo Tribe
In the village of Mola located on the island of Wangi-Wangi, resides a community of people that are truly unique in their lifestyle and history. 
The inhabitants of this village are from the ethnic group of Bajo who believe that they direct descendants of the sea. 
Once known as nomadic sea gypsies, the members are groomed since childhood to hunt and preserve the ocean. They also possess unbelievable skills such as walking on the ocean floor and diving at depths of 25-50 meters without the aid of scuba gear. It is believed that the Bajo people can survive for months at sea without food supplies or modern equipment, as there was a time where these people lived on soppeks (wooden boats) and not in the traditional floating stilt houses they reside in now.  

With the aid of a local guide, visitors have the privilege to tour the canals where these unique people live and experience firsthand their way of life. 

3. Hoga Island
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Surrounded by clear white sand and pristine calm waters, a visit to Hoga island will definitely bring you back to nature. Untainted by pollution and technologically restricted (there is no internet access and limited phone reception), visitors to this island will feel rejuvenated by the surrounding natural beauty. Hoga island boasts at least 12 fantastic dive sites with world class reefs and dive masters who are easily accessible to provide private diving tours. If diving is not your forte, the tranquil clear waters and ample surrounding reefs are perfect for snorkelling and the luscious green jungle isideal for an afternoon hike. 
4. The Kahyangan Summit
Image by brajamusti_photowork
The Kahyangan Summit, or otherwise known as Puncak Kahyangan or Puncak Tomia, is a hill on the island of Tomia which provides a fairytale landscape and a view to die for.  Easily accessible by public transport, the summit is only 25-30 minutes away from Usuku(the capital of East Tomia). The picturesque surroundings of seemingly never ending luscious grassland is perfect for beautiful photographs and watching awe inspiring sunsets. The summit also provides panoramic unparalleled views of its surrounding islands and is frequently used as a campsite for those wanting to experience peaceful starry nights and breathtakingly gorgeous sunrises. 
5. Lakasa Cave
Image by Velysia
Located in the village of Sulaa in the city of Bau-Bau, the majestic Lakasa cave is believed to be a natural wonder. Surrounded by dry and rocky barren land, it is a marvel for locals to have found this oasis of cool water, dissolving limestone and beautifully ancient stalactites and stalagmites. The dimly lit cave which descends a total of 120 metres in depth is believed to have mystical properties.
After a 15 minute walk, you will reach a small lake where the water is crystal clear and refreshingly cold. Locals believe the water in this lake has medicinal properties and is frequently used as a place to bathe. 
6. Anano Beach
Image by wakatobitourism
Anano Beach, or otherwise known as the beach with a thousand turtles, is the perfect destination to observe sea turtles in their natural habitat. The incredible white sandy beach is home to two types of sea turtles, Honu (green turtles) and Koila (hawksbill turtles).
If fortunate, visitors will have the opportunity to see these charming turtles spawn, hatch and migrate to sea. The optimal time to observe spawning is during the full moon where green turtles usually gather at the shoreline in preparation to lay their eggs in the early hours of the morning.
This enchanting beach is not only a favourite for those looking to get close to the sea turtles but also a popular spot for divers and sun loungers alike. 
7. Sombano Lake
Image by wakatobitourism
The surreal beauty of Sombano Lake which is located in the Sombano Village on Kaledupa island is absolutely breathtaking. The vast, dense and green mangrove forest is like no other in this region and the tranquil clear salt water lake which centres this delightfully scenic forest, is filled with uniquely vibrant red coloured crustaceans that can be seen from the surface. Besides the enchanting mangrove trees, the lake is surrounded by a variety of beautiful orchids and fragrant pandanus leaves.
The lake is considered sacred by locals and swimming in the lake is allowed but discouraged, as according to local folklore, a mystical black crocodile resides within.      
8. Traditional Fare
Fresh, tasty and unique, the local cuisine in Wakatobi should not be missed.
Considered as a staple for most locals, Kusami is a dish that can be easily found. Comprised of grated cassava pulp which is shaped into a cone, Kusami is usually a substitute for rice and paired with fried onions, grilled fish, colo-colo chilli and Parende.
Parende is another specialty of Wakatobi that must be tried. Traditionally served during special occasions, Parende is a delicious fish soup made from fresh sea water fish cooked with sautéed onions, lemongrass, tumeric and chilli peppers.
Lastly, the traditional grilled sticky rice called Laluta is a dish that will leave you wanting more. Humbly made with onions and coconut milk, the rice is wrapped with bamboo leaves then inserted into a bamboo trunk and grilled on top of an open flame.
The simple flavours and unique cooking techniques, make these dishes a wonderful culinary experience. 
9. Wakatobi Handicrafts
Wakatobi offers a variety of appealing and intricate handicrafts that are iconic to the region. Designed and hand made by the villagers themselves, these handicrafts are perfect for those looking to bring a piece of Wakatobi home. 
The Homoru Sarong is a beautifully woven fabric delicately made using a traditional wooden weaving tool. Usually vibrant in colour and simple in design, a completed sarong will take up to 3 months to produce by hand. A labour of love and incredible beauty, the homoru sarong is usually worn during special occasions. 
Another iconic handicraft of Wakatobi is the coconut shell ornaments. In the village of Waitil on the island of Tomia, coconut shell ornaments are a popular home industry. A variety of products can be found here, from coconut shell home decor, kitchen utensils to serving plates. 
From the village of Sampela, jewellery made from the skin of turtles is a popular handicraft. Locals believe that no harm is done to the turtles as once their outer skin is peeled they are released back into the wild. The skin is smoked then shaped into rings and bracelets. The jewellery made from the turtle skin is also believed to possess mystical strength and can ward off bad luck
10. Lariangi Dance
Image by wakatobitourism
First choreographed in 1634 on the island of Kaledupa, the Lariangi Dance is one of the national dances of the regency of Wakatobi. The eye-catching costumes, together with the rhythmically beautiful music and mesmerizing dance movements are a sight not to be missed. The dance is performed by 12 girls representing 12 nations and contains advice and stories sung in the traditional old Kaledupa language. The dance was originally performed at the royal palace to greet guests but is now performed by locals during special events and occasions. Visitors who come to Wakatobi during a time of local celebration may be fortunate enough to witness this majestic dance first hand.