Culture is Base for Tourism Development

JAKARTA ~

Indonesia’s cultural heritage, especially in Yogyakarta and Bali, have an immense potential for the development of tourism.

The local cultural heritage in various destinations across the country has led to a spurt in tourism.

“Indonesia’s cultural heritage will continue to serve as a charm for tourism as long as it is protected, preserved, appreciated, and developed for the benefit of tourism and the local communities,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu stated on Sunday.

The minister added that the local culture can be developed by protecting the original and traditional customs, so that they can be appreciated by all.

Thus, if the cultural heritage is preserved and developed by the government and local communities, it will serve as a charm for the country’s tourism development, she noted.

Minister Mari E. Pangestu suggested that the local culture can be developed by protecting the original and traditional values for drawing appreciation from many people.

“While showcasing the cultural heritage, it is important to shed light on the creative people who once lived in Indonesia in the past era and those who are still living,” she pointed out.

She emphasized that the greatness of the Borobudur Temple, which has been recognized by the UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site, not only serves as the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, but also as a legacy of the Indonesian people’s creativity since its construction in the ninth century.

The minister added that the productive and creative human resources in Indonesia will enhance its competitiveness in the world tourism market.

“Cultural heritage and local wisdom will create added value, if they are preserved, protected, and appreciated,” she noted.

The minister remarked that a number of cultural heritages like ‘batik’ clothes and ‘wayang’ puppet shows still maintained their traditional originality, though they had been adjusted to contemporary conditions.

They gave birth to creativity, produced added value, and revived the local skills, which were also on the verge of extinction.

Therefore, the local culture has great potential to revive local skills and creativity as well as serve as a charm to attract tourists and provide the base for the development of tourism in the country.

Kadek Suartaya, an observer of Bali’s arts and culture said that the rapid growth in Bali’s tourism occurred in the period between 1970 and 1980, and attributed this growth to the art and cultural performances presented in special tourism packages.

He emphasized that the Ramayana ballet was one of the most endearing tourism performances. The tourists were drawn by the theme of the epic story. Hence, he believes that the performances must be designed creatively to captivate the audiences. However, creativity should not impinge upon the culture’s originality.

In Bali, the most well-known Indonesian tourist resort province, cultural art performances are also organized across villages in various districts to attract the tourists. The ‘barong’ (lion) and ‘kecak’ dance performances were specifically integrated into special tourist art packages.

Efforts are also on to commercially showcase sacred arts in stage performances for boosting tourism. Bali arts observer Kadek Suartaya stated that eight districts in Bali had different forms of art performances with their own unique characteristics.

“The different art performances include art dances, musical performances, and puppet shows,” noted Kadek Suartaya. He explained that the period between 1970 and 1980 was considered a glorious era for the people of Bali, particularly for its ballet art.

The period marked the onset of the development of Bali’s art forms, which developed rapidly, while the political and economic conditions created harmony among the people and the local arts.

The gong drama, ‘kebyar’ dance, and ‘legong’ dance were famous in the past era of the glorious kingdoms. These lost dance forms emerged again.

The Ramayana ballet performances, specially designed for the tourists, have gained significance and are very popular among the tourists visiting Bali.

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