"We have specially invited seven travel agents from Japan to enjoy some Borobudur Temple tour packages," Head of the Central Java Youth, Sports, and Tourism Office Sinoeng N. Rachmadi remarked here, Monday.
The seven travel agencies accompanied by a Visit Indonesia Tourism (VITO) Japan-Indonesia Officer explored the different tourist attractions showcased at the Borobudur Temple, including a series of celebratory activities to mark Waisak Day, lantern festival, and village tour around the temple considered one of the wonders of the world.
Rachmadi noted that the series of activities to celebrate Waisak Day to mark the life, death, and enlightenment of Buddha, held annually in the Borobudur Temple area, is the key attraction for Japanese visitors.
He pointed out that several thousand Buddhists across the country took part in the annual celebration that was highlighted by a lantern-flying event that carried the message of peace.
"The lantern festival to celebrate Waisak Day is not organized in other countries," he stated.
Moreover, the office offers sports tourism under an annual event known as the Borobudur Marathon in which several hundred international runners from different nations, including Japan, participate.
"Currently, Borobudur Temple is not only synonymous with religious tourism but also sports tourism, with various interesting things on offer," he remarked.
Rachmadi is optimistic that travel agents partaking in the Borobudur Temple tour would promote Indonesia, especially Central Java Province, to the Japanese.
"This tour package is expected to boost foreign tourist arrivals to Central Java," he noted.
Tadahiko Narita, a VITO Japan-Indonesia official, was upbeat that the Borobudur Temple tour would draw Japanese to explore the site.
Narita stated that the Borobudur Temple had gained global recognition, including from those in Japan, as one of the world's wonders designated by the UNESCO.
Narita pointed out that the Japanese people earlier only knew of Yogyakarta, including batik, being Indonesia's cultural site, but the lantern festival held in Borobudur Temple would offer the people greater insights into Indonesia's intriguing cultures.
EDITED BY INE