North Sulawesi Governor Sinyo H. Sarundajang says that the province has targeted to receive 100,000 tourists this year, up from 40,000 in 2011.
“I hope North Sulawesi can contribute up to 100,000 tourists of the 8 million tourists targeted nationally in 2012, with a foreign to domestic ratio of 1:1,” Sarundajang told reporters on Tuesday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in the provincial capital of Manado.
Sarundajang pointed out that the tourism industry had contributed 15 percent to the province’s locally generated revenue (PAD) worth Rp 600 million (US$65,430) in 2011.
He said he hoped that the tourism industry’s contribution to the province’s PAD would increase to 30 percent this year.
Sarundajang cited maritime tourism as North Sulawesi’s main attraction.
“Bunaken, named one of the best sea gardens in the world, has been and still is North Sulawesi’s tourism icon. But we of course offer many other wonderful objects,” he said.
The governor cited the province’s various mountains, culture, culinary and religious sites among its tourist attractions.
Sarundajang said that the province had also targeted to become one of the world’s meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) destinations, citing its success in hosting several international events, including the World Ocean Conference and Sail Bunaken in 2009.
“The ATF can help us reveal North Sulawesi’s beauty to the global community, which hopefully can help us to reach our target,” he said.
The ASEAN Tourism Forum is taking place from Jan. 8 to Jan. 15 at the Grand Kawanua Convention Center in Manado.
The forum is attended by ASEAN and its partner countries’ tourism ministers and thousands of businesspeople from the tourism industry.
The province is home to more than 2.2 million residents.