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Bishop launches cultural festival

Five-day event to help promote eco-friendly tourism, preserve islanders' identity

Attendees of the culture festival look at locally produced goods in Maumere Attendees of the culture festival look at locally produced goods in Maumere
  • Jacob Herin, Maumere
  • Indonesia
  • February 20, 2012
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A Flores Island bishop is trying to preserve local culture while at the same time encouraging growth in ecotourism through a five-day cultural festival.

Divine Word Bishop Gerulfus Kherubim Pareira of Maumere said the Maumere in Love festival, which ends tomorrow, involves all the island’s eight districts and includes several events such as a parade and exhibitions featuring local handicrafts and culinary dishes.

“Through this event, the Catholic Church asks all parties to preserve culture, but also the environment and to attract visitors by protecting the image of Flores as a tourist destination,” he told a gathering at St Joseph’s Cathedral Church in Maumere.

He said the island’s culture and natural beauty is a draw for tourists, but if handled badly, could have a negative impact on nature and the local economy.

He said the Catholic Church has a responsibility to maintain moral order and warned against allowing local development to get out of hand since it could lead to environmental destruction, thereby badly affecting tourism and local livelihoods.

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Maria Elka Pangestu praised the prelate’s initiative while attending the festival on Saturday.

“His message is a good one. Everyone must encourage development but in a moral, sustainable eco-friendly,” she said.
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