Jakarta – Indonesia`s largest lake of Toba is organizing a two day-carnival in conjunction with the 71st anniversary of Indonesia`s Independence Day to promote North Sumatra`s tourism.
Dubbed as the Lake Toba Charm Independence Day Carnival (KKPDT), the event is expected to increase the attractiveness of the largest lake in Southeast Asia.
Lake Toba is the most popular tourist destination in Sumatra. Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism is speeding up the development of various tourist destinations in North Sumatra with Lake Toba as its tourism icon, to attract local and foreign tourists.
“North Sumatra Province has a lot of attractive tourist destinations that need to be developed. After all, a presidential regulation on Lake Toba Tourism Management Authority Board was also established last June,” Tourism Minister Arief Yahya told the press in Parapat, in North Sumatra on Saturday.
The minister made these remarks in connection with the Lake Toba Charm Independence Day Carnival (KKPDT) on August 20 and 21, 2016. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will open the carnival Sunday.
The authority board is assigned to accelerate the development of Lake Toba, which is one of the country`s 10 prime tourist destinations, Minister Yahya said.
For the holding of the carnival, the Ministry of Tourism have made preparations over the past several days.
Minister Arief Yahya visited the office of the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan in Jakarta Thursday to discuss preparations for holding the carnival.
“We discussed preparations for the holding of the carnival. We and the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan will leave (for North Sumatra) tomorrow. Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya has arrived in Toba,” Minister Arief said at the office of the coordinating minister for maritime affairs on Thursday.
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will open the carnival activities on the second day in Balige, Arief further said. On the first day, the organizers will present a music concert and a people fiesta on a floating stage in Parapat, he added.
The floating stage will present Slank musicians in collaboration with artistes to enliven the carnival event such as Sammy Simorangkir, Edo Kodologit, Dewa Budjana, and Tohpati, in addition to Oppie Andaresta and JFlow. They will sing songs with national and independence nuances to instil a sense of love for the motherland.
The aim of the carnival, which involves the locals, is to entertain residents and attract them to the festival. It presents special dishes from different regions, shows a parade of decorated boats and demonstrates a cooking event.
The carnival would start on a floating stage in Prapat and would conclude with a carnival and a peoples fiesta in Balige, KKPDT chief organizer Premita Fifi said.
“The floating stage concept at Lake Toba is the first of its kind, as Toba has never organized such a stage before,” Premita said.
Shortly after opening the carnival in Balige on Sunday, President Joko Widodo is scheduled to walk three and a half kilometers along the road on the side of the lake to Parapat.
The carnival will feature not only Batak arts and culture from North Sumatra but also those from the rest of the country. Hundreds of decorated cars will travel from Balige to Parapat.
Likewise, scores of decorated boats will accompany them on Lake Toba,” chief organizer Premita Fifi said. The carnival is part of efforts to promote Parapat and Lake Toba as national and international tourist destinations, Premita said.
The carnival constituted a realization of the presidents commitment to enhance the independence anniversary commemoration to other areas so that the August 17 celebration atmosphere could be felt as far as outside Java, according to Minister Yahya.
The carnival was based on President Jokowis desire that the celebrations of Indonesias Independence Day should not be centered in Jakarta alone, the minister said. Last year, the same carnival was held in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, to observe Independence Day, he added.
Therefore, the president has wanted infrastructure for Lake Toba to be immediately developed. The Lake Toba Tourist Area Project should be implemented immediately based on the request of the president, according to Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan.
The resort project includes an area of 600 hectares where a meeting hall, a golf course, and a five star hotel. The resort development will be supported by one thousand hostelries built around Lake Toba.
“The president wants a good environment with good infrastructure. There must be private investment and the locals must be prepared,” the coordinating minister said.
There are several things that should be improved to kick-off the project immediately, he said. One of them is preparing the local people, because a good synergy (with the locals) is needed to build the tourist resort area, he remarked.
The presence of the authority board and the opening of many direct flight routes to the airports of Kuala Namu, Silangit and Udara Sibisa, will further boost the arrivals of local and foreign tourists in North Sumatra.
Besides the airports, a toll road will also be built to make it easy for tourists to visit Lake Toba. The toll road will be built to connect Kuala Namu with Tebing Tinggi, Siantar and Prapat.
With a width of 30 kilometers (km) and a length of 100km, surrounded by seven districts, Lake Toba is one of the 10 main tourist destinations being developed by the Indonesian government. The seven districts located in the surrounding areas of Lake Toba are Karo, Samosir, North Tapanuli, and Dairi, in addition to Toba Samosir, Humbanghasundutan, and West Pakpa.