Indonesia: Raja Ampat to have diving center to attract more tourists

Antara 2 Jan 16;

Raja Ampat, W Papua (ANTARA News) - The Tourism Ministry said it would build a diving center in the regency of Raja Ampat, West Papua, this year to attract more tourists to one of the countrys major tourist destination areas.

The diving center would facilitate divers and tourist wanting training in diving.

"In 2016, as a prize, a diving center would be built in Raja Ampat," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said here on Friday.

The minister pledged to turn out 50 dive masters in Raja Ampat from local people.

He said in order to boost development of Raja Ampat as a major tourist destination expansion of the airport of Mandira in the district of Waigeo had been approved by President Joko Widodo.

Meanwhile, deputy for development of tourist destination and industry Dadang Rizki said the diving center would be built in Waiwo.

Construction of the diving center is being prepared but the project would be completed this year , Arief said, adding, meanwhile training would take place to turn out 50 dive master. (*)

President Jokowi visits Piaynemu Bay in Raja Ampat
Antara 1 Jan 16;

Raja Ampat (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and First Lady Iriana visited Piaynemu Bay in Raja Ampat District, West Papua, on Friday.

The head of state and his entourage departed from Waiwo Pier in Waisai Sub-district at around 8 a.m. local time aboard a speedboat.

A speedboat ride from Waisai to Piaynemu Bay takes 1.5 hours.

After arriving in Piaynemu, Jokowi scaled 300 steps to reach a hilltop to witness the string of isles scattered across the bays clear waters.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and Head of the Presidential Staff Office Teten Masduki were among those accompanying the president.

Acting District Head of Raja Ampat Elyas Sroyer stated that there are around 1.8 thousand isles in Raja Ampat District.

Therefore, ships or boats are crucial means of transportation in the region, he added.

Raja Ampat, which literally means "Four Kings," is located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the worlds coral reef biodiversity.

The seas around Raja Ampat Islands are home to the richest varieties of species in the world, including 75 percent of all known coral species.

The Raja Ampat archipelago encompasses 15 thousand square miles of land and sea off the northwestern tip of the Indonesia province of West Papua.

Its four large islands --- Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool --- shelter a vast array of terrestrial species and valuable forests.

The region includes the Pacifics most important Leatherback Turtle nesting site, The Nature Conservancy writes on its website.

Offshore reefs protect some 1,427 species of fish and more than 550 species of coral.

Some of these reefs have proven to be particularly resilient, and include coral-building resources that help sustain the entire Coral Triangle, making its protection all the more vital.

Rajaampat and Komodo named world best places for snorkeling
Antara 3 Jan 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Rajaampat in Papua Barat and the Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara have been named worlds best snorkeling places, an official quoting a CNN survey, said.

"Indonesia has two top places at once - Rajaampat as the best and Komodo second best snorkeling destinations in the world, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said here on Sunday.

The two Indonesian destinations put behind the islands of Galapagos ranked third by the survey, the minister said.

Toward the end of 2015, CNN (Cable News Network) of international edition, held a survey involving a number of maritime experts in selecting their respective snorkeling favorites.

Their responses were summarized in an article titled "11 of the worlds best snorkeling destinations", Arief said.

Topping the list of 11 places is Rajaampat in Papua Barat, Indonesia, a habitat of 75 percent of types of coral known in the world . Ranked second is the National Mark of Komodo in East Nusa Tenggara.

The Galapagos islands in Ecuador was ranked third followed by Coral Triangles in Asia Pacific, the Philippines, Silver Bank of the Republic of Dominica, Palau in Micronesia, Greet Barrier Reef in Australia, the Solomon island , Isla Holbox in Mexico, and Kealakekua Bay in Big Island, Hawaii.

The minister attributed the finding and promotion of potential touri9st destinations in the country to hard work of all related agencies.

"Intensive promotional campaigns have begun to bear fruit," he said.

Arief said the branding of "Wonderful Indonesia", has jumped from the 100th in ranking to the 47th in 2015 putting behind the "Amazing Thailand" ranked the 83 and the branding "Trully Asia Malaysia" in the 96th .

He said all Indonesians should be aware of the countrys tourism potentials and together create and maintain supporting climate to develop the country tourism industry.

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