Sunday, August 24, 2008

Other Tourist Attractions in Minahasa Beside Bunaken

By Charles Roring
Bunaken National Marine Park is a world class diving site in Minahasa, the Province of North Sulawesi. Nine thousand scuba divers from every corner of the world flock in Bunaken every year. Most of their activities during their stay in Manado, North Sulawesi is devoted to diving. They are served by around 40 dive operators. Besides Bunaken, Manado Tua and Siladen islets, other nearby diving sites in the region are Bentenan (which is currently served by one dive operator, i.e. Bentenan Beach Resort), Montehage, Molas, Bangka islets and Lembeh strait. A report in 1999 said that the contribution of diving to the local was more than four million US dollars. With continues rising in the number of tourists who visit North Sulawesi every year, the amount of money they spent will be higher.
As mentioned above, most of the scuba divers are served by only small number of dive operators. Will the money the tourists pay influences the economy of the people in Minahasa? The intention of the development of eco-tourism is to support to the preservation of the environment, and to help the economy of people in the region. According to my observation, there are improvements in the villagers’ life especially among those who work directly in diving industry. But more improvements can be achieved if more tour packages aiming at empowering the local people are introduced. These packages include Minahasa highland tour where tourists can visit handicraft shops, bird watching, palm sugar industry, flower market in Tincep and white water rafting in Timubr, local snack kiosks, traditional restaurants and furniture and wooden house industries. Folk dances and music performance can be combined with gourmet tourism in the Minahasan highland.
If more options are available, tourists who haven’t experienced these packages may choose them after finishing their dive in Bunaken. Local government of Minahasa and North Sulawesi should support the program by providing tax incentive or building the necessary infrastructure for that purpose. It is hoped that with more people oriented tour package, the economy of the local people can significantly be improved in the near future.
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Anonymous said...

When traveling on a budget it’s best to keep in mind the following points:
1. Travel in the off-peak seasons. You can save up to as much as fifty per cent off air flights and accommodation costs if you plan to travel in low season times.
2. Stay away from popular tourist spots (unless they are on your ‘must-see’ list). If you can go off the beaten track with your destinations, things can be cheaper to see and do and your cultural experiences will be richer.
3. Try camping. Not only is it the cheapest form of accommodation it’s a great way to get up close and personal to nature. It’s the best way to see National Parks and Heritage listed areas.
4. Look for special travel offers (or packages). But make sure you check everything that they include - and don’t include.
5. Invest in a travel pass where you are able. Most developed countries have a rail or bus transport system where you can obtain day, week or monthly passes that will get you around cheaply.
6. Get a work permit if you aim to gain employment while traveling overseas. Working can help subsidize places that aren’t so cheap, such as Europe and Australia.

Anonymous said...

A few tips to make train travel more enjoyable

Be on time for going away: Missing your train can start your whole vacation off on the wrong base. While it may be possible to ‘catch up’ to your train at its next stop, it will only add pressure and annoyance to your enjoyment of the vacation.

Bring any child care items with you and make sure you have travel games for younger children to make the trip more pleasant for them in between stops.

Bring along a good book or other activity. As on any vacation there can be dull spots where a good book, or an MP3 player will come in handy.

If you have special needs for diet bring along any foods you think may be hard to find on the train, or at your destinations.

Above all else, have fun. Traveling by train is rewarding and enjoyable with just a little planning.