JAKARTA - Hundreds of shoppers flocked into retail stores in Emporium Pluit Mall, North Jakarta, as the Jakarta administration inaugurated the start of the Jakarta Great Sale on Saturday.
The sale, which this year is being held in more than 75 malls across the city, will run until July 19 and is an annual event to commemorate Jakarta's anniversary.
Jakarta Tourism and Culture Agency deputy head Tinia Budiarti is upbeat the event will bring in a surge of shoppers, both domestic and foreign. "This year, we have promoted the Jakarta Great Sale to our neighbours, Malaysia and Singapore. We are confident that more tourists from both countries will come to shop," Tinia said.
She said the agency had put up billboards in strategic places in both countries, and also paid for advertisements in taxis.
Tinia added the agency also targeted Indonesians from outside the city. "We have also put up billboards in Bandung, Yogyakarta, Bali and Semarang."
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu echoed Trinia, saying the Jakarta Great Sale should be just as popular as the Singapore Great Sale.
"Indonesians and Malaysians usually visit the Singapore Great Sale. It's time for Singaporeans and Malaysians to visit the Jakarta Great Sale," Mari said during the same event.
Offering a more tempered view, acting Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama said Jakarta still had a long way to go before it became a shopper's heaven.
"Jakarta has so many malls. Probably, more than any other city in the world. However, the city lacks decent infrastructure to attract foreign tourists," Ahok said.
He did, however, wish the event success this year. "Hopefully Jakartans and tourists will have fun shopping. But not me, I have no time to shop," he joked.
One shopper, Dewi Andita, said she had travelled from Banjarmasin to shop in Jakarta. "I heard about the event through Twitter. I heard that some goods are being discounted up to 70 per cent," Dewi said.
Meanwhile, another visitor, Krishna Akira, said she was particularly looking forward to the midnight sale. The midnight sale this year will be held on June 21 and June 22 in 14 shopping malls.
"Midnight sales usually offer the cheapest - but still high-quality - products. I will definitely visit the midnight sale," she said.
The city this year is targeting Rp 13 trillion ((S$1.3 million) in sales during the course of the event, a modest increase from last year's sales of Rp 11.8 trillion, and an increase of 30 per cent in visitors from last year's 13.5 million people.