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Some 200 foreign tourists attend Baliem festival

Wamena, Papua (ANTARA News) – Some 200 foreign tourists are attending the 27th Baliem Valley Cultural Festival being held in Wamena, Walesi Sub-disrict, Jayawijaya District, Papua, from August 8 to 10.

The unique traditional culture and natural scenery of Baliem Valley surrounded by mountainous area are major tourist attractions, Head of the Jayawijaya tourism office Alpius Wetipo stated.

Over 300 dancers will perform during the festival.

“Hence, this annual event organized by the Jayawijaya district administration is always able to attract hundreds of foreign tourists,” he pointed out.

Other tourist attractions of Jayawijaya include the white sand beaches, ancient mummies, Lake Habema, Lake Salt Water, and a canopy.

During the festival, the tourists are being entertained with traditional dances and cultural attractions and taken on guided tours to several tourist destinations.

“Absolutely satisfied with all of Papuas culture in Wamena,” Smith Jr, an Australian tourist, informed ANTARA News.

On the previous night, the Jayawijaya administration had hosted a welcome dinner for seven foreign ambassadors, who are in Wamena to attend the festival.

Deputy District Head of Jayawijaya Jhon Richard Banua hoped that Papua will leave a good impression on the ambassadors during their visit to Wamena, which is also called the “Cold Town.”

The ambassadors are respectively representing Switzerland, Italy, Armenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Mexico, and India.

The implementation of the festival costs Rp9 billion, he remarked, adding that the local government had also spent additionally for infrastructure and supporting facilities for the event.

Some 250 security personnel comprising military and police officers are deployed to secure the festival.

The personnel have been stationed to protect the festivals venue, hotels, and routes to be taken by foreign visitors to reach certain tourist destinations.

Baliem Valley is located in the central mountain of Papua. The grand valley is 72 kilometers (km) long and 16-31 km wide and is inhabited by the Dani Tribes, the Neolithic warriors and farmers, and other sub-tribes of Yali and Lani, with their complex and primitive cultures, which bear striking resemblance to the “stone age” cultures.

Source: www.antaranews.com, 8 August 2016