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Friday, June 10, 2011

Bintan cultural ( A window into Indonesia)

White boy with a feather: A foreign tourist joins a local dance troupe during the commencement of the Bintan Cultural Festival over the weekend. JP/Fadli  
 A cultural festival that aims to attract more foreign tourists is underway in Bintan, Riau Islands
The 10-day event — Bintan Cultural Festival (BCF) — commenced Saturday evening and was highlighted with traditional dance performances from regions across Indonesia.
The event was jointly organized by the Bintan regency administration and the management of the Lagoi International Tourist resort at the 23,000-hectare reservoir.
“We look forward to having this event annually,” Bintan Regent Anshar Ahmad told The Jakarta Post after the opening ceremony.
Around 500 foreign tourists and local people joined the opening ceremony that evening, which 
was opened by West Sumatra’s traditional dance Tari Piring (Plate Dance), followed by Naik Lanting dance from Kalimantan and other traditional dance performances from other regions including Bali and Jakarta.
Anshar said the various traditional art permances should appeal to foreign tourists.
Traditional handicrafts and foods are also on display until March 23.
The hosts were applauded for their presentation of the Rentak Bulian dance and the theatrical opera Mak Yong.
“That way they will learn that this region is also rich in culture,” Anshar said.
The Bintan regent called on the Bintanese to actively involve themselves in the tourism promotion, following the example of Bali, which is the country’s most robust tourist destination thanks to its people’s preservation of traditional culture.
“We have to do the same in Bintan if we want to make this regency a developed tourist destination like Bali,” Anshar said.
Event organizer Chin Chow Yoon said a sustainable art concept must be implemented in Bintan if the region wanted to transform itself into an attractive tourist resort for foreigners.
“Tourists from Europe, Asia and Australia visiting Bintan through Singapore have been fed up with ‘plastic’ presentation in Singapore.
“They want something natural, like Indonesian traditional arts,” said Chow Yoon, who is also Vice president director of PT Bintan Resort Cakrawala (BRC), the management company the Lagoi International Tourist resort.

The retired brigadier general from the Singaporean Army, said through the cooperation with the regency administration, his company wanted to emphasize Bintan’s positive aspects to tourists. 
Chow Yoon saw the need to preserve arts in the region to attract tourists.
“In the long run, tourists will be settled to extend their stay here that in turn will as well make a better tourism industry in our region.”
Chow Yoon added the tourist visits in the region were steadily increasing annually.
In 2006, the region saw 330,000 tourists.
The figure increased into 340,000 the following year and into 370,000 in 2008 and 400,000 last year.
“Some 80 percent of them are foreign tourists from Europe and China,” Chow Yoon said.

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