The 2013 Yacht Rally, a center-piece of Sail Komodo 2013, was opened on August 4 by the Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare and Chairman, Steering Committee of Sail Komodo, Agung Laksono, accompanied by the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, the Minister of Communications, the Minister for Housing, and the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara on Koapan Beach, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
Agung said that Sail Komodo 2013 reflected maritime development and maritime tourism, and was promoting NTT as a main destination for world tourism and a sailing route for cruise ships and yachts bound for Indonesian waters. The Yacht Rally, he said, was a core activity of Sail Komodo 2013, and cements Kupang as the southern gate entry point to Indonesian waters.
In its effort to develop regional tourism, the Yacht Rally is very important as it is in line with the MP3EI concept (Master Plan for the Acceleration of Indonesian Economic Development) for Corridor V, spanning Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara, said Agung.
Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Sharif C. Sutardjo added that Sail Komodo 2013 was expected to establish NTT and the surrounding region as a national and international tourist destination, and make it a Best Sailing Passage, given the region's huge potential. In addition, Sail Komodo 2013 would showcase marine and fisheries sectors in NTT as a major livelihood in the area, while respecting sustainable regional development.
106 yachts from 26 countries have entered Indonesian waters for this years Sail Komodo. 87 yachts entered through Kupang, while the rest entered through Sangihe in North Sulawesi province, Saumlaki in Maluku Tenggara Barat regency, and Tarakan in East Kalimantan province. In the next three to four months, the yachts will be welcomed by 21 regencies and municipalities, while enjoying the exotic attractions of NTT, and improving local economies in the area along the way, said Sharif.
"There are several points that become our concern; the readiness of the anchoring locations; the readiness of customs, immigration, quarantine, port officials; the readiness of infrastructure and festivities in the destination areas; and the readiness of the flag off event in Kupang," Sharif explained.
This year's Yacht Rally is officially organized by Sail Indonesia, Back to Down Under Rally and Darwin Ambon Yacht Race. The Yacht Rally organizers will further showcase participating yachts in the Sailing Pass event which ends on September 14 in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, NTT, with the attendance of the President of Republic of Indonesia.