Bokori Tourism Island Continues to Attract Number of Visitors

AFTER having been developed into one of the mainstay tourist destinations in the Indonesian province of Southeast Sulawesi, Bokori Island in Konawe District continues to attract a great number of visitors.

Bokori is now the right place for both local and foreign tourists who are looking for an island adventure where they can go swimming, snorkeling, and diving to explore some of its underwater delights. With its scenic beauty, warm waters, and white sandy beaches, Bokori Island is an ideal getaway in Southeast Sulawesi Province for tourists and local residents to unwind. No wonder, the Southeast Sulawesi provincial government is optimistic of the number of tourist visits to the province in 2018 reaching the predetermined target.

According to local Tourism Office Chief Syahruddin Nurdin said until August 2018, the number of tourists visiting the province for holidaying at Bokori Island in Konawe District had reached 74,015 people. In the Southeast Sulawesi provincial capital of Kendari, that some months were still left until the end of 2018 to meet the target of tourist visits to the province, especially to Bokori Island.

“During the year-end holidays in December, several tourists were expected to flock to the island, which can be reached by boat in 15 minutes from the beach. The trend of tourist visits to Bokori Island during the school holidays experienced a significant jump; for instance, in June 2018, which also coincided with Eid, the number of visitors reached 12,350 people,” he added,

Nurdin remarked,in regular months, the number of visitors ranges from two thousand to seven thousand, and in October 2018, the number of tourist visits to Bokori Island also increased since at that time, the Bokori festival was held that had become an annual agenda.

Meanwhile Southeast Sulawesi Tourism Office Chief of Destination Management and Community Empowerment Section M. Amin remarked that the number of tourists visiting in October 2018 was quite high. The number of tourists visiting Bokori Island until August 2018 has reached 74,015, comprising both domestic and foreign tourists from France, Italy, China, and Singapore.

“Hence, the government of Southeast Sulawesi Province is committed to promoting the marine tourism at Bokori Island in order to attract even more visitors in the years to come. As part of its commitment to develop Bokori Island into a tourist destination in the province, the local government in 2016 had planned to establish the Technical Implementation Unit Service (UPTD) to manage the tourism sector on the island,” M. Amin said.

The local government had allocated a significant amount of funds through the state and local budgets to develop Bokori Islands tourism sector. Bokori Island is beautiful and serves as one of the main tourist destinations after Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi.

Therefore, the local government in 2016 developed Bokori Island as one of the key tourist destinations in the area. Since then, the island has been widely known, thanks to some activities held on the island such as the Bokori Island Festival, beach volleyball tournament, and Nusantara King Festival.

“In addition, the the provincial government had built several cottages and supporting facilities for the tourists on the island of Bokori. The Departments of Tourism, Public Works, Transportation, Forestry, Food Security, and Marine and Fisheries were working together to develop Bokori Island into a tourist destination in the province,” he remarked.

There are already 11 cottages, a meeting hall, and gazebo on the island, and this year, the local government will increase the number of such facilities. In 2016, the local Department of Culture, Tourism and Creative Economy allocated funds amounting to Rp4 billion to develop numerous supporting facilities on the island.

In principle, each regional working unit was assigned the responsibility to develop and manage the supporting tourism facilities in an integrated manner on the island of Bokori. Besides the provincial government, the Kendari city administration had also been called on to optimize the management of tourist attractions in Southeast Sulawesi. Covered by natural forests and extensive plantations of teak and ironwood, vast swathes of the Southeast Sulawesi Province are ideal for visitors who prefer challenging adventures and ecotourism.

In addition, there are several diving and snorkeling spots around the province, such as at Tolitoli, Hari Island, Baubau, Labengki Island, and Wakatobi Marine National Park. With its numerous tourist attractions, the Southeast Sulawesi provincial government is now focusing on developing its tourism sector as an important source of foreign exchange and employment. The rapid expansion of the provinces tourism sector is expected to provide viable opportunities for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

Hence, all tourist destinations in Southeast Sulawesi and the city of Kendari must be managed optimally in order to boost the local revenue. The revenue generated locally from Kendari`s tourism sector was still low despite the city`s huge tourism potential.

Therefore, the city administration should optimize the management of the areas tourism potential. Nambo Beach and a mangrove trekking area are among the several tourist attractions in Kendari that could be managed optimally to boost the local revenue. [antaranews/photo special]