Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Papua`s Arfak Mountains draw tourists like a magnet

Well-known for its tropical rain forests with endemic animals and plants, the Arfak mountains in Manokwari, West Papua, continues to attract tourists from around the world. 

Papua and West Papua have many natural potentials, from marine life to mountain range, and one of them is the uniqueness and the beauty of Arfak Mountains Nature Reserve that never escapes the attention of tourists from all over the world every year.

In the near future, a group of domestic and foreign tourists will visit the Arfak Mountains District, which gained autonomy from Manokwari District in 2012, to see its numerous tourist attractions.

As has been confirmed in Manokwari by the secretary of West Papuas Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants, Julius Lois, the tourists from Jakarta, Surabaya, and from Britain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands will come to visit the Arfak mountains.

Since several years, the tropical rainforests in the Arfak Mountains have lured tourists from across the world for a close glimpse of the endemic flora and fauna in the region.

Arriving in Arfak mountain areas, the tourists can enjoy ecotourism activities while exploring the forests to observe various species of tropical plants.

In the light of this, West Papua Governor Abraham Atururi has been committed to developing all regions in the province, and construction is underway to improve accessibility to the Arfak Mountains District by improving means of land, sea, or air transportation.

The Irai airport in the Arfak Mountains District is considered feasible for being developed to boost tourism in the area.

Local air transportation spokesman Maryanto stated that a verification team of the Ministry of Transportation had reviewed the Irai airport located in the Anggi region.

During the review, he said, the team found that the runway of the airport could be extended in order to accommodate large-bodied aircraft, but the absence of skilled human resources to manage the airport in the area still posed a hurdle in its development.

Therefore, Maryanto has suggested to the local government to hand over the management of the airport to the Ministry of Transportation immediately.

According to West Papua Culture and Tourism Office Head Edi Sumarwanto, the Arfak Mountains District will be among the national tourist sites to be included in the pilot project as besides Lake Anggi, the Arfak Mountains have several tourist attractions, including natural landscapes as well as sites rich in social and cultural wealth.

"One can find lakes, plants, birds, caves, butterflies, and various cultures in the area. The development of ecotourism can alleviate poverty, which is still high in the area," Sumarwanto remarked.

Tourism development is in harmony with the efforts being undertaken to maintain and preserve nature; and the pilot program will not cause any potential harm to the environment and will instead focus on maintaining and preserving it.

Having various marketable tourist attractions, the Arfak Mountains District already boasts of an above-average river rafting scale.

The highest river rafting scale is six, while Arfak has a scale-four rafting facility, which is ideal for people keen on indulging in the adventure sport. It can be a good tourist attraction.

Arfak is also home to eleven species of paradise bird, while there are only 13 species of this bird around the world. Moreover, the tourists can enjoy other attractions, such as butterflies, caves and endemic plants.

Indonesia is a country with several tourist areas and places of historical significance, and Lake Anggi in Arfak mountains is one such attraction that is yet to be widely known by outside parties.

Approximately a six-hour ride from the city of Manokwari, tourists can reach the open area surrounded by mountains and Lake Anggi located below, which offers a scenic view and fresh air.

The lake is situated more than two thousand meters above sea level, and the temperature there ranges between eight and 20 degrees Celsius.

Arriving at the lake side, visitors will be amazed to find the locals leading a content existence, gleefully oblivious to the outside world.

It is an ideal location for a family getaway to escape the boredom of day-to-day life and an opportunity to indulge in various activities, such as picnics, camping, fishing, photography, or just taking strolls along the lake while enjoying the pleasant weather.

Not many outsiders know about the lake, so intensive promotion is needed to increase awareness among both local and foreign tourists.

"Lake Anggi is a beautiful tourist attraction in the Arfak Mountains District, but unfortunately, it is rarely publicized," Arfak Youth Leader Denius Ony Mandacan stated.

In addition, the local government has yet to organize and construct supporting tourism facilities around Lake Anggi, which is one of the sources of revenue for the locals.

Therefore, Lake Anggi, with its natural beauty and located in the highlands of the Arfak mountainous region, should continue to be promoted.

Mandacan believes that anyone who sees the beautiful view of the lake and the uniqueness of the Arfak Mountains will be drawn to again visit the place.

Hence, it is the right time for the local government to start building tourist facilities and promoting the beauty of Lake Anggi in order to attract local and foreign tourists.

Until now, the lake is only visited by people residing around the area, but if it is promoted intensively, it will certainly draw several tourists and boost the local economy. (Antara)

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