Jayawijaya district said the Baliem Valley Cultural Festival was one of Papua’s tourism icons, due to its global fame. Jayawijaya Regent John Wempi Wetipo told antaranews.com on Tuesday in Wamena that the event was a concrete step by the local government to preserve the traditional arts and core values of the Dani tribe.

“This event is an important asset to increase local income by the owners of local culture, and also as the government’s income. It’s purposely held every August, in accordance with Independence Day,” he said.

Wetipo also highlighted Jayawijaya regency’s natural tourism potential, “We have the beauty of Baliem Valley and its Baliem River. We also have Habema Lake’s fantastic natural panorama.”

(Read also: Papua’s oldest festival to lure foreign tourists in August)

Aside from Baliem Valley and Habema Lake, Wetipo said the Lorentz National Park with its various flora and fauna, the Trikora summit and mummy culture tours are still popular among tourists.

The Baliem Valley Cultural Festival features many cultural aspects of the Dani tribe arts, and this year it highlights the tribal warfare simulation. Organizers of the event have prepared a 400 by 250-meter arena to accommodate up to 1000 warriors and dancers.

The tribal war simulation will be held on two days, featuring 26 groups of up to 50 warriors, and will be accompanied by traditional pikon music of Papua. Pikon is a wood skin-based Papuan musical instrument that makes a soothing sound when blown. The annual Baliem Valley Cultural Festival is held on Aug. 8 to 10  for the 27th time. (asw)