Optimizing the tourism potential of the Japanese cave of Papua

It will bring added value by accelerating the economic recovery for the well-being of the inhabitants of the district of Biak Numfor.

Although Japanese Cave in Sumberker Village, Samofa Subdistrict, Biak Numfor District, Papua Province, has quite an interesting history, it is less popular than other historical tourist spots in Indonesia.

However, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy believes that the cave will become a top tourist attraction if it is professionally managed in accordance with global tourism standards.

The Ministry’s Region II Tourism Destination Development Director, Wawan Gunawan, said the site has huge potential and is able to compete with the Vietnam War Remnants Museum.

The cave, 45 meters (m) deep and 180 m long, is one of the district’s popular destinations, he informed. According to the website of the Papua Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, visitors only need to pay Rp 25,000 to enter the site.

There are hundreds of WWII relics, including light and heavy weapons, bullets, helmets, planes, tanks, bombs, food, swords and medical equipment, in the yard front of the site, Gunawan said.

Visitors can use the stairs to get to the cave and there are a number of huts where they can rest, he added.

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Initially, the site housed a natural cave that was often used by locals as a resting place, he explained. There were many beautiful stalactites and a spring, the water of which was used by the community for their daily needs, he said.

The locals call the cave ‘Abyab Binsari‘which means’ grandmother’s cave,’ he added. According to a popular tale, there was an old woman who lived around the cave. However, once the Japanese soldiers arrived, she disappeared without a trace, he said.

The army first landed on Biak Island in 1943, bringing in around 10,000 troops who were then stationed at several locations in Biak Numfor District, including Cave, North Biak sub-district, West Biak sub-district, East Biak sub-district. district, and Ambroben Sup Forest, and in the district of Supiori.

They built coastal fortresses, forests and caves, with the Japanese cave serving as their logistics hub and hiding place, Gunawan said. There were three thousand people led by Colonel Kuzume Naoyuki stationed at the site, he added.

However, Allied troops commanded by General Douglas McArthur found the hiding place. So on June 7, 1944, troops dropped bombs and fuel cans on the cave, claiming the lives of over three thousand Japanese soldiers, he said.

The location was designated as one of the historic attractions of WWII in 1980, he added.

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Strengthening of tourist sites

The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has encouraged the strengthening of various tourist sites in Biak Numfor District, Papua Province, to transform them into quality and sustainable destinations to attract more visitors and revive the local economy.

Accompanied by the head of the Biak Numfor District Tourism Office, Gunawan reviewed the development of several tourist destinations funded by the 2021 Special Allocation Fund (DAK) for the tourism sector.

The sites included the Japanese Cave in the Samofa sub-district, an art scene at the Cendrawasih Museum in the Biak Kota sub-district, the Wardo rest area in the West Biak sub-district, and Tanjung Saruri Water Blow in the Yawosi sub-district.

In addition, Gunawan reviewed the preparations for the development of Yennyabo Sorido beach in Biak Kota sub-district, which would be carried out using DAK 2022.

He visited tourist attractions on Wednesday while preparing a mass vaccination center for Biak Numfor district, which will also be supported by the ministry.

He pointed out that the ministry is committed to supporting the development of tourist destinations in the district, in accordance with Presidential Instruction number 9/2020 regarding the acceleration of welfare development in the provinces of Papua and West Papua. .

It was also in line with the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024 on the development of tourist destinations (DPP) in Biak-Cendrawasih bay.

“The preparation of quality, competitive, integrated and sustainable tourist attractions in Biak Numfor district can be enhanced by creating an interesting calendar of events and travel patterns,” Gunawan said.

With engaging narratives, the travel model – in the form of historical and religious tourism – can attract both domestic and foreign tourists, he added.

He then praised the strong commitment of the district government in the development of strategic local tourist destinations.

This can be seen from the use of the DAK in the 2017-2021 fiscal year, which was carried out on target with an adequate budget and great benefits for destinations, he said.

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In addition, the allocation of funds for the 2022-2024 fiscal year shows the government’s support for sustainable tourism, he added.

In addition, creating the art scene at the Cendrawasih Museum as a creative space for community members to express themselves can support the development of cultural tourism in the district, he noted.

In the future, various artistic and cultural communities will be able to perform there and collaborate with each other to carry out sustainable activities, he said.

“This will bring added value by accelerating the economic recovery for the well-being of the people of Biak Numfor district,” added the director of the ministry.

Upgrade the Japanese cave

At the same time, the head of the Biak Numfor District Tourism Board, Oni Dangeubun, expressed his gratitude to the ministry for its commitment to supporting the development of tourism and the creative economy in the district.

“The Biak Numfor district government welcomes the ministry’s commitment to continue supporting the development of destinations in our district. We hope that the support will continue in the years to come, ”he noted.

He said that in December 2019, his office planned to nominate the Japanese cave as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Therefore, officials tried to fulfill the administrative requirements of the proposal and improve the accessibility and amenities of the destination by working with the local bank and police to renovate the entrance gate and toilets at the destination. , he informed.

They have also cooperated with the Papua Provincial Tourism Board to provide quality human resources to manage the tourist destination, he added.

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Since the cave is often visited by Japanese tourists, Biak Numfor District Chief Herry Ario Naap said he expected a direct flight to be operational from Japan to the district.

He conveyed hope by accompanying former Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, Ishii Masafumi, to the historic site in February 2020.

Developing the potential of the Japanese cave will certainly advance the tourism sector and the creative industry of the district, while improving the economy and well-being of the locals.

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