The Makassar city government in South Sulawesi Province has set its focus on the development of tourism for the welfare of its local community.
Makassar is the gateway to eastern part of Indonesia and the entry point to an adventurous tour to the Tanah Toraja highlands, deep fertile plateaus of Sulawesi island.The unique Torajan culture including their animistic burial rites makes the region one of the most fascinating wonders in Indonesia.
For the Makassar city residents, the most interesting way of spending an evening is going to the Losari beach, which has a very strategic position and become an integral part of the atmosphere of the city of Makassar.
“We have some beautiful beaches and small islands to be developed into tourist paradise,” local Economy and Finance Department spokesman Syahrir Sappaile said in Makassar on Thursday.
Syahrir noted that the coastal areas and small islands development into tourist paradise was the manifestation of the desire of the community to maintain the existence of marine resources in order to be utilized in a sustainable manner.
“All of it is to meet the needs of the community, especially for Makassar city dwellers to enjoy,” he said, adding that the development of marine tourism in Makassar city was very prospective because there are 11 small islands along the coastline of the city.
Besides, the area has a stretch of coral reefs and sea grass beds, and beautiful beaches of Losari, Akkarena, and Tanjung Bunga for boating, skying, snorkeling, fishing, and other water sport activities.
Makassar city will be more famous in the world because it has Trans Studio World Indoor Theme Park, an area of integrated tourism which is located only 5 minutes away from Akkarena beach.The Trans Studio World Indoor Theme Park has adopted the concept of the Universal Studio in the United States.
According to regional coordinator of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies Nico B. Pasaka, the development of tourism in Makassar city was expected to have a positive impact on the economy of the people near the tourism objects.
“Tourism should have a direct positive impact on the economy of the people,” Nico said, adding that pedicab drivers in the vicinity of Makassar`s Sukarno-Hatta port should take the advantage from tourism development.
He said around 150 pedicab drivers at the port could drive foreign tourists to tourism objects in the city each time a foreign cruise ship with hundreds of tourists arrived there.
Meanwhile, former South Sulawesi Tourism Office Chief Syuaib Mallombassi has said the province is rich in marine, natural, cultural, historic and agro tourism destinations.
He pointed out that the Taka Bonerate Marine Park, located at Takabonrate Island in Selayar district, is famous for having the third largest coral atoll in the world after Kwajifein in the Marshall Islands and Suvadiva in the Maldivian Islands.
Swimming, diving, snorkeling, and fishing are some of the fun activities at Taka Bonerate Marine Park. “With beautiful tourist attractions such as Tana Toraja and Taka Bonerate Marine Park, we are optimistic that more domestic and foreign tourists will visit Makassar this year,” he said.
For about a 90-minute ride from Makassar, the tourists will arrive in Maros district to enjoy the natural, historic, and agro tourism attractions.Maros district head Hatta Rahman said in Makassar recently that the district has at least 8 natural tourism attractions and most of them have been developed.
“The natural tourism attractions that have been developed in the district include Bantimurung Waterfall, Pattunuang Natural Caves, Bulu Sipong Hill with its caves, Bonto Somba Waterfall, Lerang Pannige, Kuri Beach, and Karaenta Natural Preserve,” Hatta Rahman said.
As for historical tourism sites, he said that the district has Leang-leang prehistoric park, Leang Akkarrasa Rammang-rammang historic site, Kassi Kebo cemetery, Karaeng Simbang cemetery, Japanese fort, and Karaeng Loe Ripakere traditional houses.
Hatta Rahman added that Maros also has agro tourism attractions such as the Pucak Safari Garden and various types of typically traditional food.
About Bantimurung`s natural tourism, the Maros district head noted that it would be developed as per international standards with hotels, golf courses, and other facilities.Bantimurung Waterfall is a destination in South Sulawesi that tourists should not miss, as it can be reached in an hour`s drive from Makassar and a 30-minute drive from Hasanuddin Airport.
Situated at the valley of a limestone hill with its fertile tropical vegetation, Bantimurung Waterfall is a government protected natural reserve that houses a beautiful waterfall and 1000 ha of surrounding forest.
There are also several caves around the waterfall, which make this area an ideal habitat for many types of butterflies and rare birds. Bantimurung also has a reservation of rare butterflies.
Hatta Rahman said the naturalist Alfred Wallace collected specimens here in the mid- 1800s.Among the butterflies that he caught was the Papilo Androcles, one of the rarest and largest, with a tail like a swallow.
According to Rahman, the best time to see butterflies is when the sun appears after a shower, as the butterflies form a riot of color while flying from one shrub to another.As for Makassar, the city will rely on its cultural and marine tourism to support the Visit South Sulawesi 2012 campaign.
Meanwhile, Makassar Mayor Ilham Arif Sirajuddin said tourists would be able to choose many attractive destinations, such as Rotterdam Fort, Somba Opu Fort, the tomb of Syech Yusuf, the tomb of Prince Diponegoro, the tomb of Tallo King, Mandala Monument, Losari Beach and Paotere harbor to see traditional Pinisi schooners.
For marine tourism, Ilham said Makassar would offers islets such as Khayangan, Lae-Lae, Samalona, Kodingareng, Barang Lompo, Barang Caddi, and resort areas like Akkarena Beach, Tanjung Bayam Beach and Tanjung Bunga Beach.
He noted that the city would also offer religious tourist destinations, including the old Katangka Mosque, Raya Mosque, Al Markaz Al Islami Mosque and La Galigo Museum.