Monday, June 25, 2012

Many cultural attractions liven up Visit Medan Year 2012

Many art and cultural attractions will boost the government's "Visit Medan Year 2012" initiative to attract as many foreign tourists as possible to Medan, the gateway to other tourism attractions in North Sumatra.

The provincial capital city of Medan has magnificent historical sites and many interesting places for tourists to visit.

In a bid to attract tourists and support Visit Medan Year 2012, the Medan city administration will organise many art and cultural performances, including a Baronsai (lion dance) Festival at Sera Guna stadium in Medan on June 23-24.

Medan Culture and Tourism Office spokesman Agus Suriono said six countries would take part in the Barongsai Festival.

"To date, six countries Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia have confirmed their participation," he stated in Medan on Friday.

According to Agus, the Barongsai Festival is among the many art and cultural performances that will be organised by the Medan city administration in a bid to support Visit Medan Year 2012.

Besides the Barongsai Festival, Agus said, art and cultural attractions from eight ethnic groups in North Sumatra would be showcased along with the traditional dances of Malay, Batak, Mandailing, Simalungun, and Nias.

The culture and tourism office of Medan would also sponsor the Bakcang festival, Melayu Agung cultural festival, and the antique vehicle show.

Agus explained that the various art and cultural performances would be staged as part of Visit Medan Year 2012 in order to attract as many domestic and foreign tourists as possible to the capital of North Sumatra province.

In addition to increasing the number of tourists, the Medan city government also aims at maintaining and preserving the local art and culture.

He said the Medan city government had set itself a target to attract at least 200,000 tourists in 2012.

Meanwhile, North Sumatra Provincial Culture and Tourism Office Chief Naruddin Dalimunthe said the number of foreign tourists visiting the province this year could reach 365,000.

According to Naruddin, the visit of foreign tourists to the province in 2012 has shown an upward trend. Therefore, he expressed optimism that the target of 365,000 tourists could be reached.

"With Visit Medan Year, we are optimistic that the target of 365,000 foreign tourists can be reached at the end of 2012," Naruddin said. In January 2012, 18,139 foreign tourists visited North Sumatra, while in February the numbers dropped to 17,540. Then, in March, there was a significant increase in the number of tourists, with 22,123 visitors to the province.

However, according to hotel managers in Medan, Visit Medan Year 2012 is unlikely to contribute significantly to the hotel occupancy rates in the city.

"Visit Medan Year 2012 lacks promotion and preparation, so it is unlikely to attract a great number of tourists to Medan and North Sumatra," Madani Hotel General Manager Dedi Nelson Fachrurrozy said.

He stated that the local Culture and Tourism Office should have promoted the programme better to attract domestic and foreign tourists.(Antara)

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