It seemed a long way to travel from Chiang Mai to
Java’s ancient cultural capital of Jogjakarta to attend Indonesia’s
annual Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo (TIME) 2004 at the Jogja Expo
Center recently. With all the challenges Indonesia has gone through in the
past few years, the country managed to prove that tourism is a very
resilient industry. Instead of being pessimistic, tourism stakeholders
continue to show confidence.
of the 72 Buddha statues at the top of Borobudur near Jogjakarta.
Because of tourism’s mission to foster peace,
understanding, and friendship, the industry should be the first to stand in
the front line and prove that the country is a safe and friendly place to
visit. There is a new visa on arrival policy in place, and to pay USD 25 for
thirty days stay in Indonesia is in line with other countries in Southeast
H.E. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, Governor of Jogjakarta
Special Province welcomed 148 sellers from 20 provinces, 112 buyers from 31
countries and 34 media delegates. He identified tourism as a key engine of
economic development for the island of Java with more than 100 million
people today. With the new Jogjakarta Tourism Development Board, the Sultan
himself has taken a leading personal role as Ambassador for Jogjakarta to
promote tourism and investment in the region. Among his top priorities was
to have Jogjakarta’s airport designated as an international one with
services to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, addressing the delegates of Royal Time 2004.
In his keynote address to the one day international
workshop on “Tourism Rebound”, the outgoing Minister of Culture and
Tourism Gede Ardika noted that it is not war but travel, that
counterbalances the effects of international terrorism. When tourists come
to Indonesia, which is the fourth largest populated country in the world -
made up of more than 17,000 islands - they are able to see how Buddhism,
Hinduism, Islam and Christianity have all contributed over the centuries to
Indonesia’s vibrant culture as well as its archaeological heritage.
Indonesia is offering the world an “ultimate in diversity” of tourism
attractions such as world heritage sites, cruising, yachting, beaches,
adventure, and Eco-tourism.
I Gede Ardika, minister for culture & tourism during a luncheon speech.
In an emotional overview, Joop Ave, the former tourism
minister of Indonesia, summed up Indonesia’s achievements under all the
different presidents since the country’s independence on 17 August 1945.
He is now counting on the charisma of the newly direct elected president Dr.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to bring back the hoped for continued material
prosperity and to push tourism back on track.
Highlights during Royal Time 2004 was an excellent
arranged dinner at the 19th century-styled Rumah Sleman Private Boutique
Hotel and an organized city tour to visit the “kraton” or sultan’s
palace with the annexed “taman sari” or water castle in Jogjakarta. At
the closing media conference it was stated that Jogjakarta will host Royal
Time again on September 22-25, 2005.
Before leaving Jogjakarta, I went on the 2 days/1 night
Dieng historical tour that brought the eager participants to the world
famous Borobudur Temple, built in the 8th century, long before Angkor Wat in
Cambodia and on to the 2,000 meters high volcanic plateau of Dieng. There
are active craters near a row of impressive ancient Hindu stone temples.
After an overnight at the colonial-styled Gallery Kresna
Wonosobo Hotel, we continued to the idyllic Losari Coffee Plantation Resort
and Spa surrounded by eight volcanoes in the highlands of Central Java, a
place from where it was really difficult to go back.
Hopefully, in the near future, there will be a direct
flight from Chiang Mai to Jogjakarta, the cultural heart of Indonesia.
For further information, please contact GMS Media Travel Consultant
Reinhard Hohler by email [email protected]
the fierce guardians to protect the Sultan’s palace.
nicely dressed Ramayana ballet dancers.
(Left) The newly
renovated water castle in Jogjakarta.
of the Sultan and governor of Jogjakarta special province.
stone temples called “chandi” on the Dieng Plateau, Central Java.