Govt Looks To Develop Old Town After City Fails to Act

The Jakarta Globe

The Culture and Tourism Ministry has launched an initiative to preserve the crumbling colonial-era buildings in the Old Town area of West and North Jakarta, a job it says the city administration has failed to do.

Firmansyah Rahim, head of destination development at the ministry, said on Friday that it was regrettable the Jakarta administration had shown little interest in preserving the historic buildings in the area, which is also known as Kota Tua.

“I’m so glad to see the enthusiasm shown by the other stakeholders in getting involved in improving tourism in Kota Tua,” he said. “Sadly, however, very few Jakarta residents visit the area.”

He said that this highlighted the city’s failure to play a leading role in preserving the area and promoting it as a viable tourism destination.

According to Firmansyah, state enterprises own 22 abandoned historic buildings in the area, and the preservation of these buildings is critical to boosting tourism there.

“I believe there are eight state-owned companies that own historic buildings in Kota Tua,” he said. “We want to discus with them ways to maintain those buildings. Recently there was a report of one historic building collapsing because it had been neglected.

“So we need to find a solution to preserve those buildings, either by turning them into art galleries or restaurants or the like.”

To that end, the ministry launched the Destination Management Organization, aimed ultimately at improving tourism in the area.

“In order to develop Jakarta’s Kota Tua as a globally competitive tourist destination, the ministry will help facilitate an assessment process and conduct studies to improve tourism in the area,” Firmansyah said. “But in order to do so, we need to find common ground and establish a commitment among stakeholders and the government.”

Friday’s launch of the DMO included traditional performances such as the padupa dance that originates from the coastal communities of Sunda Kelapa, the city’s historic harbor.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry has implemented the DMO program in 14 other tourist destinations in the country, including Pangandaran in West Java, Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East Java, Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Mount Rinjani in West Nusa Tenggara and the whole of Bali.

Others include Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Lake Batur in Bali and the maritime areas of Raja Ampat in Papua, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi and Bunaken in North Sulawesi.

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