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Tour de Singkarak 2011: Sports Tourism Enriching Culture, Benefiting Local Populations

Farah Fitriani Faruq
Farah Fitriani Faruq
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Tour de Singkarak 2011: Sports Tourism Enriching Culture, Benefiting Local Populations
Sunday afternoon, June 12, 2011 was the peak and closing day of the Tour de Singkarak 2011, the international cycling event in Indonesia that was successfully organized by the Indonesian Cycling Association, the government of West Sumatra, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Indonesia. The podium at center stage became the focal point for the media as the summary of the 7-day event was announced. From the total US $75,000 prize, Azad University of Iran racers victoriously took US $31,255, three to five times higher than the remainder of the competing teams. To no one’s surprise, the known best sprinter, Chan Jae Jang of Korea who raced for Terengganu cycling team from Malaysia, won the 70.8-kilometer race from the ‘twin lake’ to Lake Singkarak. He marked the time in 1 hour, 28 minutes, and 15 seconds as recorded by the digital timer and camera, when the sprinting winner came in as part of a big bunch, of no less than 50 racers. Indonesian Projo Waseso from United Bike and Chinese Shih Hsin Hsiao from Action Cycling Team China followed in second and third position, just a split second after Jang, who became an instant celebrity among West Sumatran local youngsters. The popular Zargari and Emami who were also crowded by local girls did not seem to be bothered in the second half of Stage 7 to seek another goldmine. The Iranian cyclists knew exactly that they would cumulatively win the entire race. Long traffic jams and road blocks for a day in the different regions of West Sumatra were part of the scene during the past 7 days. Policemen and road and traffic officers had put their best efforts to clear the routes highlighted on the map of West Sumatra, making sure that the locals were at a safe distance to watch the speeding racers, who needed a perfectly clear track. Although West Sumatra still has a lot to improve in its infrastructure, many cyclists admitted that the cycling routes were particularly awesome. Martin Bruin, the Second Commissaire in the Technical Committee stated that he was exceptionally impressed with the police officers who had been very dedicated to clear roads and made a near-perfect, smooth race in Padang on Sunday, June 12, 2011. Martin Bruin loved the culture of West Sumatra, especially the local people who were always involved with himself in instant, friendly interaction. The International media were also excited as the friendly locals tried to have their pictures taken. Without hesitation, some of them tried to communicate with their limited skill in speaking English, but the interaction developed very amicably. Cross-cultural interaction occurred in every city where Tour de Singkarak 2011 staged its red gradation to yellow background and podium. At least 109 registered local rented cars were involved in the event. Emil from Padang (56), a car driver who recently retired from the Indonesian Telecommunication Company, felt very grateful and proud to be part of the team. Zulkifli (35) who was also asked to tag along with other drivers into Bukittinggi and the rest of the tour shared mutual sentiment towards the annual Tour de Singkarak as with the excited team. These are only a small share of benefits emanating from the event. Thousands of street food sellers, restaurants, kids’ toys sellers, souvenir stores, home industry, homestays, guesthouses, and hotels harvested from the event. It had been an enriching moment as they again looked forward to Tour de Singkarak 2012. The governor of West Sumatra who attended the last stage in Lake Singkarak remarked that Tour de Singkarak 2011 was expected to further boost the brightening economy of the region, particularly from the Tourism Sector that highlights the culture and nature of West Sumatra. The Director General for Tourism Marketing from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Indonesia, Sapta Nirwandar, simulatenously Chairman of this successful annual event, stressed that Sports Tourism such as the Tour de Singkarak promotes the development of local and regional tourism. The UN-WTO itself has declared that tourism enriches many aspects of life, especially benefitting local communities, Sapta added. Tour de Singkarak 2011 has passed hundreds of villages, towns, and cities West Sumatra’s 12 regencies. Most of them are along the scenic routes between tourist destinations. Some 14 countries participated in the event, traversing 760.3 kilometers, much longer than the route taken last year in the Tour de Singkarak 2010 that covered only 551.7 kilometers. taken from Indonesia.travel
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