Surakarta may represent RI in US flower festival
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The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry is exploring the possibility of featuring Surakarta in the 2013 Pasadena Flower Festival in the US, given the former’s cultural attractions, such as wayang leather puppets and batik, in order to draw visitors from the US to visit Indonesia.
“We will participate in the event after being absent for 16 years,” said deputy director of International Promotion for America and the Pacific Region Vinsensius Jemadu on Monday.
Indonesia has actively participated in the 122-year-old festival, but has been absent from 1996 to 2012. On Jan. 2 this year, Pagaralam city in South Sumatra represented Indonesia in the festival and was able to win the President’s Trophy, coming in at fourth place amid 44 participants.
According to Vincensius, the more Indonesia participated in the festival, the bigger the chance for it to draw a higher number of tourists from the US to visit Indonesia.
In 2011, around 200,000 tourists from the US visited Indonesia. This year, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry expects the number of tourists from the US visiting Indonesia to reach 225,000.
“Surakarta will also become the tourism image of Indonesia,” said Vinsensius.
The ministry’s Pasadena Flower Festival consultant Greg Asbury expressed awe when he was presented with examples of the Surakarta Batik Carnival and Surakarta Batik Fashion. According to him, Surakarta batik had the potential to attract tourists’ attention if it was included in the 2013 Pasadena Flower Festival.
“It’s very spectacular and can be part of a wonderful Indonesia promotion drive there [US],” said Greg.
Technically, Indonesia will feature two floats in the festival. The main float, measuring 12 meters long, will feature three wayang figures — Krisna, Arjuna and Gatotkaca. The floats will also be equipped with a miniature Borobudur Temple and gamelan.
“This is just an initial concept from us, and the rest will be discussed with the Surakarta municipal administration,” said Greg.
Surakarta Mayor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he could yet make a decision regarding the offer from the ministry. According to Jokowi, his office must discuss the matter further keeping in mind the budget and preparation, and its relation to Surakarta’s image in the eyes of the world.
“We must calculate carefully because we must be completely prepared if we want to participate,” said Jokowi who will provide the answer next week.
The minimum expenses to participate in the festival would amount to around US$100,000, excluding lodging for participants.