The Central Sulawesi province of Indonesia will now be able to host the international marine event, Sail Tomini in 2014, although the local administration has been planning to organize the event since 2010.
This development follows a decree issued by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
According to the Presidential Decree No. 4/2012, Central Sulawesi will be hosting another marine event, Sail Morotai, this year in September.
Sail Morotai 2012 will be followed by another event, according to a proposal made by the East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration to the central government.
The proposed international marine event will be called Sail Komodo 2013, because Komodo has become well-known after being added to the list of finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature competition.
It is only after having hosted Sail Morotai 2012 and Sail Komodo 2013, that Central Sulawesi's plan to organize Sail Tomini will materialize in 2014. The preparations, however, began two years ago in 2010.
The province has many beautiful places that attract both domestic and foreign tourists. One of them is the Gulf of Tomini, after which the international marine event, Sail Tomini, has been named.
The bay is rich in fish and other marine resources, and is expected to emerge as a popular tourist destination thanks to its biodiversity and natural beauty.
Speaking about the province's plan to host Sail Tomini, the Chief of the Central Sulawesi Maritime and Fisheries Office, Hasanuddin Atjo, said in the provincial capital of Palu on Tuesday that Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare, Agung Laksono, supported their efforts to host the marine event in 2014.
"The minister fully supports Sail Tomini 2014, and has promised to help process the issuance of the Presidential Decree on the international marine event," Hasanuddin added.
He said Governor Longki Djanggola explained the plan to host Sail Tomini to Agung Laksono in Jakarta one day earlier and the minister promised to support it fully.
Hasanuddin noted that the Central Sulawesi governor handed a proposal on Sail Tomini to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on December 7, 2011.
Meanwhile, Governor Longki said that during a workshop on Sail Tomini in 2011, it was decided that Central Sulawesi would host the international marine event in 2014.
To host the event, the governor said, he had formed a regional committee, proposed funds from the regional budget, and also prepared Sail Tomini 2014 brochures to be distributed in various countries.
"The local committee will actively make various preparations by drawing funds from the 2013 regional and state budgets, and by intensively promoting the event through print and electronic media," the governor said.
He added that all the districts that were involved in organizing Sail Tomini had also agreed to support the yacht rally, fleet review, business forum and exhibition, diving festival, cultural festival, traditional dances, and marine sports competition, to make the international event a success.
"We hope the central government will support the Sail Tomini 2014 after Sail Morotai 2012 and Sail Komodo 2013," the governor said, expressing hope that the Presidential Decree on Sail Tomini 2014 would be issued together with the proclamation on Sail Komodo 2013.
Longki noted that Central Sulawesi was famous for its underwater habitat and creatures, such as Gobi Fish (Bryaninops erythrops), Salvador Dali reef (Petrosia lignose), Ikan Behang (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides), Cardinal Fish, Damsel, Platax pinnatus, Scorpaenopsis, Oxycephala, Goropa Fish, Butterfly Fish, Cockatoo Fish, Randal Fish,Parapterois hetururus, Bothus Sp, Half Face Fish, Frog Fish, and others.
As part of Central Sulawesi's efforts to host Sail Tomini 2014, the Tojo Una-Una district began preparations for the international marine event in 2010.
Made up of the Togean Islands group, Tojo Una-Una is a major tourist destination in Central Sulawesi, owing to its beautiful underwater park across the Gulf of Tomini.
The Togean Islands, located a few kilometers east of Palu in the Gulf of Tomini, have been named by the government as a national park with an ecosystem covering an area of 70,000 hectares.
"We have started to prepare supporting facilities and infrastructure for Sail Tomini," Tojo Una-Una district head Damsyik Ladjalani said.
Damsyik noted that the construction of a ferry port at Ampana town on the Wakai Islands and a harbor in Togean, as well as an additional ferry ship to connect Ampana-Wakai-Togean and Gorontalo, were some of the preparations that had begun for the international marine event.
"The additional ferry ship will soon be realized, while the construction of the ports is expected to be completed in 2012," he said.
Meanwhile, Central Sulawesi Culture and Tourism Office spokesman Suaib Djafar said that from the tourism point of view, Sail Tomini would be an important event for the province to promote its potential in order to attract as many domestic and foreign tourists as possible.
"We had previously planned to call the event "Sail Togian" but in our effort to involve the provinces of Gorontalo and South Sulawesi at the Gulf of Tomini, we changed our mind and decided to call it "Sail Tomini", Djafar said.
He said Sail Central Sulawesi has also declared 2012 as the Visit Central Celebes Year in a bid to draw thousands of domestic and foreign tourists.
Sail Tomini 2014 is also supported by Cellular phone operator PT Telecomsel, which will be investing Rp129 billion in the construction of a telecommunication infrastructure for the event.
"The funds amounting to Rp129 billion will be spent on the construction of 43 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) around the area where Sail Tomini 2014 will take place," the company spokesman, Asbullah, said in Palu in December 2011.
He noted that the Base Transceiver Stations would be built at three districts in Central Sulawesi, Tojo Una-Una, Banggai, and the Banggai Islands.
"We will fully support all district heads in Central Sulawesi in making Sail Tomini 2014 a success," Asbullah said, expressing hope that all public groups in the districts and the province would do the same.