Hundreds of people crowded into the Jakarta Fair in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, as the annual month-long event started on Thursday.
Most booths in the festival compound were already occupied by tenants selling various products such as snacks, frozen food, fast food, soft drinks, automotive electronic gadgets, fashion accessories, traditional arts and crafts and apparel.
For Audi, a 23-year-old marketing executive of Samsung, discounted items offered at the booths were
the big draw.
'Promotional events like this only happen once a year,' he said.
However, not all visitors were able to find what they were looking for.
Zubaedah, 28, a housewife from Cisalak, Depok, West Java, lamented the lack of local food products sold at the festival. 'They sell more foreign food products here: kerak telor [traditional Betawi pancake] is the only local food they sell here, yet the price is very expensive,' she said.
Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has said he wants to evaluate the implementation of the Jakarta Fair, one of biggest fairs in Indonesia, which is held during the month marking the capital's anniversary.
'I wish to reclaim the Jakarta Fair as a festival for all people. I want to see more small and medium businesses involved in the festival, unlike currently where the festival is dominated by big businesses,' Jokowi said recently.
The fair, which was initiated to boost the local economy, was first held at the National Monument ( Monas ) compound from June to July, 1968.
Through Bylaw No.8/1968, the fair was officially established as an annual event held in June each year, the month when Jakarta celebrates its anniversary on June 22.
The fair attracted 1.4 million visitors in 1969 and the number of visitors has since increased, with the city administration moving the venue to Kemayoran after 1992. Since 2003, PT Jakarta International Expo ( JIExpo ), a subsidiary of the Central Cipta Murdaya group ( CCM ) owned by tycoon Murdaya Poo, has organized the Jakarta Fair.
Deputy Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama hinted the city administration might end PT JIExpo's role as organizers of the fair.
'JIExpo does not hold the sole right to organize the Jakarta Fair, meaning that the city administration has the right to decide whether it wants to change the venue and so on. We can hold a beauty contest to choose the organizer,' Ahok told reporters, adding that 'we want 60 or 70 percent of the participants in the festival to be small and medium enterprises.'
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the deputy governor at City Hall recently, Murdaya Poo denied that the fair had only accommodated the interests of big businesses.
'Between 40 and 50 percent of the tenants at the Jakarta Fair were small and medium businesses. We rent out the spaces at the fair at the lowest rate,' he said.
According to company marketing director Ralph Scheunemann, the company rents out spaces at the fair at Rp 2 million ( US$204 ) to Rp 3 million per square meter for 32 days.
The Jakarta Fair will be held from June 6 to July 7 this year, during which transactions totaling Rp 4.5 trillion are expected to be made. ( ogi )