Up to 29,827 foreign tourists reportedly visited Sabang Island throughout 2018, a significant increase from 2017 when only 2,981 people visited, according to Sabang Culture and Tourism Agency data.
“The foreign tourists were especially attracted to marine destinations that are spread across the National Tourism Strategic Areas [KSPN],” said agency head Faisal as quoted by kompas.com.
The sea route between Sabang and Banda Aceh is currently being served by two roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) ferries that together do six trips per day.
From Sabang to Banda Aceh the scheduled trips depart at 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Meanwhile the return trips start at 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
“KMP BRR [the Banda Aceh-Sabang ferry] can accommodate 450 passengers, 25 cars and 100 motorcycles. Meanwhile, the capacity of KMP Tanjung Burang [the Sabang-Banda Aceh ferry] is for 200 passengers, 15 cars and 60 motorcycles,” said Faisal.
The foreign tourists are said to especially enjoy snorkeling off Rubiah Island and diving in the Iboih area of Suka Karya during their trips to Sabang. Meanwhile, other popular destinations are the white sandy beaches of Iboih and Sumur Tiga.
“The Indonesia Zero Kilometer Landmark and several Japanese caves are also often crowded with foreign tourists,” added Faisal.