Thirty percent of the 7.6 million visitors to Indonesia are drawn by the country’s natural beauty, and a large part of these come to this archipelago for its 600 and more amazing dive sites and coral reefs, said Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu opening the Deep and Extreme Indonesia exhibition in Jakarta on Thursday, 29 March 2012. Nonetheless, we should be careful that Tourism should not only improve the local economy but it should also induce communities to preserve the wealth that nature has provided us. Fishermen should be instructed not to use bombs to catch fish. But conversely, they should also be provided with alternative livelihood. Learners in diving should be taught not to step on and therefore damage coral reefs, since these new shoots take years to grow. As a special interest attraction, dive sites should not be overcrowded and destinations should be aware of the environment’s carrying capacity. In the preservation of marine destinations, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy in cooperation with the Ministry for the Seas and Fishery and the Ministry of Forestry work together to both improve the economy of the local population at the same time preserve the environment. In the Wakatobi islands in South East Sulawesi, for example, the government works together with the private sector and NGO to preserve Wakatobi’s pristine seas. Minister Mari concedes that development of marine based tourism is still handicapped by limited infrastructure and transportation. For this reason, the government at National and Regional level will continue to work together with the private sector and all shareholders to attract more investors to develop islands and marine-based tourism in Indonesia. The Deep and Extreme Indonesia exhibition is ongoing at the Jakarta Convention Centre from 29 March – 1 April 2012, where national and international participants in a hundred stands are ready to provide to the public information on diving and adventure tours, equipment and gear, and other services. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Indonesian Divers Association, Freddy Numberi said that the Association continues to improve the quality of dive instructors as well as teach tourists to be more sensitive of the environment. To further promote Indonesia’s abundant marine-based destinations and attractions, Indonesia will attend the Dema Show in Las Vegas, USA, from 14- 17 November 2012, informed Minister Mari Pangestu. taken from Indonesia.travel

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