More than 200 cyclists from 20 countries are set to participate in Tour de Flores, the country’s largest multiple stage race, from May 16 to 26 in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Thursday the event would cover a distance of 661.5 kilometers and was aimed at promoting interesting areas throughout the island’s eight regencies to the participants and spectators.
To boost interest in the competition, total monetary prize of Rp 500 million (US$36,036) will be up for grabs. Video, photography and writing competitions will also be held.
Local infrastructure and airport facilities were improved prior to the race to facilitate visitors traveling to the region, said Arief.
As such an event is good for the local economy, Arief revealed plans to hold the race annually and cover a larger area.
This year’s race will start in Larantuka in East Flores regency and travel westward to Maumere and continue on to Ende, Bajawa and Ruteng and end in Labuan Bajo, where the peak of the event will be celebrated.
Labuan Bajo is among 10 tourist destinations set to be developed this year to shift the focus of the country’s tourism away from Bali.
“Assuming that 80 percent of traveling expenses goes to accommodation, local transportation, food and beverages and entertainment, the estimated total income through the event will reach Rp 2.9 trillion in the first year,” said Tour de Flores chairman Primus Dorimulu.