Ubud in Bali to be Indonesia Prototype of Gastronomy Tourism

Indonesia, gastronomy, Bali, Sumatra, Jogjakarta

Ubud in Bali has been selected as a Gatronomy Destination Prototype for Indonesia with the support of the UNWTO. Vita Datau, Head of Shopping and Gastronomy Tourism at Indonesia Ministry of Tourism explains why Ubud has been chosen. Mrs Datau was present at the UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Forum in Bangkok.

Most experts of Indonesia would think that choosing Ubud in Bali over other destinations in the country, is once again a way to reinforce Bali’s positoning in Indonesia tourism. The Island of the Gods is already the largest destination for international travellers to the country with a market share of 40.5% in Indonesia and is already the top destination for international travellers with 5.68 million arrivals in 2017.

Vita Datau

“Our strategy for gastronomy tourism is first to brand, then to boost and then build up the image. We all know that Bali is well established as an international tourism destination. However Ubud has already all the elements to make it a perfect gastronomy destination, which is not the case for others.”

“Ubud offers fine dining, good street food and is perfect regarding health and hygiene. This is important for us as Ubud will be a benchmark for other parts of the country. And we get the endorsement of the UNWTO to turn it into a Gastronomy Destination Prototype”, says Vita Datau, Head of Gastronomy and Shopping Tourism Development for the Ministry of Tourism.

” Ubud already fullfills most of the critera of a UNWTO-standard gastronomic destination,” she explains.  Ubud is home to some of Indonesia Michelin-rated restaurants, has a lot of new chefs and is also organising every April a culinary event, the Ubud Food Festival.

“Ubud Food Festival entered in 2018 its fourth year, and the theme was about innovation to highlight the arrival of  a new generation of young chefs”, she says.

But the Ministry does not want to only concentrate on Bali. “We have of course set our focus on more cities and destinations. We for example see at the Ministry a strong potential for the ‘Joglosemar’ area which comprises the cities of Jogjakarta, Solo and Semarang, all known already for their culinary specialties. They are likely to be the next Gastronomy Destination,” tells Mrs. Datau.

“We also recently signed a MoU with the Province of West Sumatra, home to the iconic Rendang dish [a meat cooked for hours with spices and coconut milk among others]. The city of Payakumbuh in the Minangkabau area will be designated as a ‘Rendang Village’,” she further highlights.

Other potential gastronomy tourism would include Jakarta, Bandung as well as Manado. “All these destinations need to look at hygiene and cleanliness conditions and the ministry will help with guidelines and advice to turn them in a future into Gastronomy tourism places. We are also working at training local authorities to make their destination more story-telling related and look at linking gastronomy to their history, culture and art of living,” adds Vita Datau.

The Ministry wants also to focus on the creation of cooking schools for visitors, an attraction which is only available in few cities and destinations across the country. “We are moving step by step to become a country known for its culinary but we will still need time,” adds Mrs. Datau.

Gatronomy is projected to generate foreign exchange of US$20 billion this year, up by about 20 percent over 2017 with a target of 17 million foreign tourists and th 270 million domestic travellers. Culinary activities account already for 30% of total tourists’ spending, the equivalent of US$400 spent on food and beverage per visitor.