Indo govt wants country to become next big shopping destination

In conjunction with World Tourism Day, the Tourism Ministry launched a culinary and shopping festival on Tuesday in Gandaria City Mall, South Jakarta.

The one-month-long Wonderful Indonesia Culinary & Shopping Festival 2016, which will end on Oct. 27, is taking place in 85 shopping malls in the country's 13 big cities, including Jakarta, Malang, Palembang, Banten, Yogyakarta, Bandung, Surakarta, Makassar, Surabaya, Semarang, Pekanbaru, Medan and Balikpapan and on Bali.

This year, World Tourism Day commenced with "Tourism for All" as its theme, which inspired the ministry to focus on the culinary arts and shopping, the two main activities commonly enjoyed by both domestic and foreign tourists, reported tempo.com. The festival itself is planned to be held annually.

Indonesian Gastronomy Academy head Vita Datau described the festival as a cross-sector collaboration that combines academics, the business community, government and media to work together in promoting the shopping and culinary industries.

Culinary arts and shopping are two cultural categories that play crucial roles in Indonesian tourism. The country is equipped with decent shopping facilities and included in the Top Asia Shopping Cities 2015. In regards to price, it is the third cheapest country in the World Economic Forum, Travel and Tourism Index.

"It doesn't mean the low price comes with low quality. By spending the same amount of US dollars in Indonesia, people will get extra benefits and value compared with other countries," said Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.

Currently Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore are deemed the most popular shopping destinations. However, Arief said that shopping malls in Indonesia, such as Grand Indonesia in Central Jakarta and South Jakarta's Pondok Indah Mall and Gandaria City, are actually bigger and even more complete than those in Singapore, Australia, Japan, or even the US' and Europe's shopping centres.