TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - West Sumatra Province is gearing up to implement its iconic sports tourism event of Tour de Singkarak (TdS), the international cycling race, scheduled on November 2-10, 2019.
The route for the 11th edition of the TdS will be expanded this year for the first time to also cover Jambi Province.
Offering prizes amounting to Rp2.3 billion, TdS is the biggest international cycling race in Indonesia that has promoted tourist destinations in West Sumatra, so far.
Foreign and domestic cyclists participating in TdS are entertained with local traditional dances and culinary delicacies, with the hopes that they would one day return to Indonesia with their families and friends as well as share their experiences on social media.
"TdS has a high media value, so its implementation will affect the promotion and image of tourist destinations in West Sumatra and Jambi," Tourism Minister Arief Yahya stated.
This year, West Sumatra is optimistic of attracting 58,447 foreign tourists and 8.4 million domestic tourists.
This year, West Sumatra is promoting 49 major tourist attractions, of which three have been included in the “Calendar of 100 Wonderful Events” managed by the Tourism Ministry.
The three main tourism events are Pasa Harau Art And Cultural Festival, Tour de Singkarak (TdS), and Minangkabau Cultural Festival.
The Pasa Harau Art and Cultural Festival was organized in Harau Valley, Limapuluh Kota Sub-district, West Sumatra Province, on August 16-18 and featured Harau Performing Arts, Harau Adventure Run, Jawi Race, Harau Explore, and Chasing Dew of Harau Valley events.
The Minangkabau Cultural Festival will be held in Tanah Datar District on December 4-7, 2019.
"TdS is the most famous tourism event in West Sumatra. This year, we are collaborating with Jambi. Two districts in Jambi, specifically Kerinci and Sungai Penuh, will be included in the race's route. This is an opportunity to promote Jambi’s tourist destinations,” West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno remarked recently.
The race will have nine stages and cover 16 districts and municipalities in West Sumatra and two districts in Jambi, stretching 1,324 km.
The first stage will start from Gandoriah Beach, Pariaman Town, and conclude at the Basa Pagaruyung Palace in Batusangkar, stretching 107.3 kilometers. The second stage will start from the office of Pasaman District Head and finish in Bukittinggi Big Watch, covering a distance of 112.2 kilometers.
The third stage will start from Lembah Harau, Limapuluh Kota, and finish in Padang Panjang, spanning 125.6 km. The fourth stage will start from the Dharmasraya District Head office and finish in the Sawahlunto field, covering 205.3 km.
The fifth stage will start from the Payakumbuh tourism office and finish in Ambun Pagi, Agam, reaching 206.5 km. The sixth stage will start at the Singkarak Pier in Solok District while the finish line is in the Padang Aro Town in South Solok District, with the distance reaching 214.2 km, or the international cycling race's longest route.
The seventh stage will start from the Telun Berasap waterfall and finish at the Kerinci Pier, Jambi Province, reaching 82.9 km. The eighth stage will start from the Merdeka square in Sungai Penuh and finish at the Painan square, Pesisir Selatan, covering 200.4 km.
The last stage will start from the Carocok Beach, Pessel, and finish at Cimpago Beach, Padang City, West Sumatra, covering 107.7 km.
In the meantime, the South Solok district administration in West Sumatra Province has prepared 150 miniatures of "gadang" traditional house as souvenirs to be distributed to the participants of TdS.
"The souvenirs, in the form of 'gadang' traditional house miniatures, are made of wood and their roofs of palm fiber. They are produced by the small- and medium-scale (SME) industry in South Solok," Harry Trisna, head of the South Solok tourism and culture office, stated recently.
From the Singkarak Pier, participating cyclists will pass Lake Singkarak toward Sumani and later to Padang Aro via Lubuk Selasih.
The TdS, held on Nov 4-11, 2018, was quite challenging owing to heavier rains and longer race track than the earlier events.
Themed "One Decade for All," the 10th TdS marked a decade of the organization of the cycling race classified by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a 2.2-category race and listed in the UCI Asia Tour calendar of events.
A total of 224 cyclists, grouped in 21 cycling teams from 26 countries, including four domestic teams and one local team, took part in the 2018 TdS.
This year, participating cyclists might encounter similar wet weather conditions in the upcoming rainy season that could pose a real challenge since downpours are expected to fall in several regions along the route of TdS.
Drawing inspiration from the two-century-old Tour de France, the Tour de Singkarak was first organized as part of the recovery program following a powerful earthquake that had devastated West Sumatra in 2009 in a bid to boost the tourism industry through a sports-based promotional activity.