Lake Sentani Festival showcases Papua’s charms

Lake Sentani Festival showcases Papua’s charms 
, 20 June 2010


The Lake Sentani Festival kicked off Saturday, luring thousands of tourists to Jayapura regency in Papua to enjoy a showcase of the province’s traditional arts and culture.

Clad in traditional attire, Papuans, some of who arrived at the annual festival in traditional boats, danced and sang accompanied by traditional Papuan instruments.

Jayapura Regent Habel Melkias Suwae said this was the third running of the festival, which was expected to be repeated in coming years. The festival will run until June 23.

He said he hope the festival, which was opened by Tourism and Culture Ministry official Surya Yuga, would help improve the local economy and attract both tourists and investors.

“The Lake Sentani Festival aims to promote Papua’s tourism potential and to preserve and showcase traditional arts and culture from Jayapura and Papua,” Habel said.

Apart from showcasing traditional arts and culture, the festival also features agricultural product exhibits.

House of Representatives member Popong Otje Djunjun said Papua was a jewel that should be well
taken care of by all, including the government.

“Papua has rich, unique and extraordinary culture and traditions, making it a precious jewel that should be cared for,” he said.

More than 100 dancers from 19 districts in Jayapura and other regencies including Biak, Asmat and Mamberamo Jaya in Papua, and Raja Ampat regency in West Papua, took part in the festival.

Apart from entertaining tourists with traditional performances, the festival also featured boats for those wanting to explore the lake while witnessing the daily activities of residents living around Papua’s largest lake.

The Papua branch of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) called on national media to play a greater role in promoting Papua’s rich tourism potential.

“We hope the print and electronic media will more actively promote Papua’s tourism potential both domestically and internationally,” PHRI Papua spokesman Jefry Abel was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

He said Papua had great tourism potential and boasted a rich culture, art, history and cuisine, but that unfortunately most of it remained unknown to outsiders.

“I hope the media can help promote Papua and the diversity of its culture, art and tradition,” Jefri said.
Apart from the Lake Sentani Festival, he said, Papua also held other festivals including the Lembah Baliem Festival in Jayawijaya regency, Asmat Cultural Festival in Asmat regency and Marine Festival in Raja Ampat.

“We hope all these festivals in Papua can continue to be organized and sustained with the help of print and electronic media,” Jefri said.