Gastronomy and Shopping are Indonesia’s Main Highlights in 2017

Tugu Kunstkring Paleis Restaurant in Jakarta serving a traditional 'Rijstafel'

In a bid to attract more foreign visitors, the Indonesian government is planning to intensify the promotion of the nation’s culinary and shopping experiences.

With a myriad of ethnic groups inhabiting thousands of islands across its territory and their unique cuisine and cultural products, the Indonesian government realizes the great potentials that can be tapped to accomplish its targets in the tourism sector.

Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said that culinary and shopping experiences are apparently lucrative elements and essentially contribute to the success of the country’s tourism sector.

The minister added that traditional culinary and shopping accounted for 45 percent of cultural attractions, which in turn contribute 60 percent to overall business in the tourism sector.

“Visitor spending for culinary and shopping is significantly huge, very lucrative to be worked on,” he said in a statement recently, citing Thailand’s success in luring a huge number of visitors with Thailand cuisine beeing highly praised in the Kingdom’s tourism strategy.

Addressing the government’s goal to promote the culinary and shopping experiences in the country, Indonesia’s tourism ministry is actively taking part in travel and tourism expos abroad.

Taking advantage of the recent annual meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid, Spain, the Indonesian mission showcased “One Night in Makassar”, which highlighted the cuisine and cultural products from South Sulawesi (Celebes) and its capital Makassar, Eastern Indonesia largest city with over 1.5 million inhabitants.

Deputy Minister for Tourism Promotion for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nia Niscaya, said during the same occasion that Indonesia has a lot of potentials to open new markets for culinary and shopping tourism to meet the nation’s tourism targets.

Indonesia won 12 of 16 categories in the 2016 World Halal Tourism Award (WHTA), among them an award for the West Sumatran delicacy, ‘Rendang’.

Indonesia’s ‘Rendang’ and ‘Nasi Goreng’ (fried rice) ranked first and second, respectively in CNN’s world 50 best foods pooling in 2011.

For the same purpose, the ministry also sent a mission to the 2017 New York Travel Times Travel Show (NYTTS), highlighting Indonesian coffee in the United States’ largest trade show event.

“We were glad to see that many people were willing to stand in line just to taste Indonesian Arabica coffee provided in our exhibit. We know that the price of global Arabica coffee is determined in New York,” Nia Niscaya said in a statement.

The 2017 NYTTS event that took place last week was attended by 29,000 visitors consisting of travelkers and tourism experts who shared their views on global tourism industry.

Some 500 exhibitors from various countries showcased the best tour destinations and attractions in their respective nations in the three-day event.

Minister Arief Yahya said earlier that the US is among the 10 nations that send the largest number of tourists to Indonesia.

Through coordinated efforts to attract more visitors from the US, Indonesia expects to see some 380,000 visitors from that country this year, or higher than the 251,221 recorded in 2015.

Indonesia is attracting more foreign visitors to the archipelago after its tourism sector has been declared as a core business, replacing the oil and gas, coal and palm oil sectors which had been driving the country’s economy in the past years.

As such, Southeast Asia’s largest economy is developing 10 new tour destinations across the country, designed to be at par with its resort island of Bali in terms of attracting visitors. The country expects to welcome this year 15 million foreign visitors and earn some 200 trillion Rupiah (about US$14.9 billion) for the tourism sector. By 2019, Indonesia President has set a target of 20 million foreign travellers and US$24 billion in tourism revenues.

(Source: Xinhua)