Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi is gearing up for a total solar eclipse that will attract a large number of domestic and foreign tourists.
Forecast to occur on March 9, 2016, the rare and beautiful phenomenon of the total solar eclipse is expected to attract foreign tourists to Palu and Poso in Central Sulawesi.
Both, domestic and foreign tourists, are keen to visit Palu and Poso, and other areas in Indonesia such as Palembang, Belitung, Bangka, and Balikpapan, in addition to Sampit, Palangkaraya, Luwuk, and Halmahera, to witness the total solar eclipse.
Accordingly, a number of hotels in Palu are ready to welcome the arrival of domestic and international tourists to observe the rare and beautiful phenomenon.
"It has been a year since we have been preparing to welcome the tourists who will come from different countries to witness the total solar eclipse in some areas of Central Sulawesi province," Santika Hotel General Manager Alain John Siwy remarked in Palu, Friday.
Santika Hotel is very supportive, and hopes that the tourists, especially from different countries, will get what they want while in the province, he said.
"The main purpose of foreign tourists is to witness the total solar eclipse that will last for only a few minutes, but they dare to spend with a sizeable amount," John noted.
Furthermore, the local government must provide and create a sense of security and comfort so that the tourists can enjoy what they desire, he added.
Numerous tourist attractions in Central Sulawesi have been prepared for the visit of tourists while they are in the province, according to him.
Many hotels in Palu and Poso have been ready to welcome the foreign guests, and some 150 of them have confirmed their stay at the Santika Hotel, John noted.
Around three thousand tourists from 12 countries have confirmed their visit to the province to witness the solar eclipse, the head of the Central Sulawesi Tourism Office, Siti Norma Mardjanu, stated.
"This large number of foreign tourists will be accommodated in the hotels available in Palu and Poso, while some of them will stay in homes of local residents," Mardjanu said.
The local administration will conduct promotional activities regarding the total solar eclipse at numerous international airports in Indonesia, she noted.
The promotional activities highlighting the total solar eclipse will be carried out at the international airports in Medan, Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar, Mardjanu remarked.
The promotion will not only spread awareness about the total solar eclipse but will also promote the tourism potential of Central Sulawesi, according to her.
The activities to promote the total solar eclipse will be conducted by the Central Sulawesi provincial administration in December this year, she said.
Currently, approximately three thousand hotel rooms have been booked by foreign tourists, who want to witness the rare phenomenon in Palu, Luwuk, Ampana, and Poso.
The total solar eclipse is expected to attract thousands of tourists, and therefore, it will motivate the local administration to develop its local tourism potential.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the earth and Sun. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moons apparent diameter is larger than the suns, blocking all direct sunlight, turning day into darkness.
The total eclipse in March 2016 will occur in the narrow path across the earths surface, with the partial solar eclipse visible over a surrounding region that is thousands of kilometers wide, beginning in Indonesia, and ending in the northern Pacific Ocean.
Feny Kiat, the spokesperson of West Halmahera Department of Tourism and Culture in Ternate, North Maluku, has said that ancient traditions previously followed by the residents predecessors during lunar or solar eclipses would be revived for tourists visiting the area to witness the solar eclipse.
"The tourists and the local community will be given the chance to hit the earthen cooking pots, aluminum bowls, and other objects during the solar eclipse to get rid of bad luck and invite fortune," Feny remarked in Ternate on Tuesday.
She noted that other art forms and traditional attractions would be on display during the event as well.
According to her, the tourists and locals would flock to Jailolo Bay Festival Square to watch the eclipse.
"The coming of the total solar eclipse is an opportunity for the West Halmahera district government to attract foreign tourists to North Maluku," she added.
Head of the North Maluku Culture and Tourism Office Samin Marsaoly remarked in Ternate recently that dozens of scientists and several tourists from France will visit Halmahera to observe the total solar eclipse and simultaneously conduct research on the natural event that will occur in March 2016.
"Boarding a special aircraft, the scientists, with a variety of advanced equipment, will arrive in Maba in East Halmahera to conduct a study on the total solar eclipse," Marsaoly stated.
He said hundreds of tourists from several countries had also informed the local culture and tourism office of their interest to witness the total solar eclipse in March.
He noted that besides West Halmahera, the culture and tourism office in East Halmahera had made various preparations related to the visit of the scientists and tourists from several countries, such as accommodation, transportation, and the location where they will watch the rare phenomenon.
Marsaoly said other areas, such as Ternate and Tidore Islands in North Maluku have also attracted many scientists and tourists from various countries to watch the total solar eclipse.
He remarked that some two thousand tourists had already booked hotel rooms in Ternate, and the number is expected to grow to four thousand.