The Ministry of Tourism aims to develop ‘culinary tourism’ with a focus on spice, as part of efforts to promote the diversity of Indonesian cuisine. In September, the Jakarta Eat Festival (JEF) invited culinary insiders to discuss how they could showcase Indonesia’s culinary riches to the world.
Held at Gandaria City, the event, which was organised by Femina Group, featured a range of events including a discussion with Vita Datau Messakh, the Chairman of the Acceleration Team for the Development of Dining and Retail Tourism of the Ministry of Tourism; and Gupta Sitorus, member of the Academy of Indonesia Gastronomy, and other entrepreneurs from the food and beverage industry.
With the theme “Indonesia, Spice Up the World”, the Ministry set out its branding strategy, using the guidelines stipulated by the World Tourism Organization. It plans to develop tourism here by involving the country’s rich culture and history. Spice is considered the main local product that is intrinsic to most Indonesian dishes. Vita Datau Messakh said the dining industry must take the lead in delivering the story and the tradition behind the food.
“Indonesia has rich, traditional recipes which number around 5,300 from various regions. Lots of dishes might not be popular, but we have to be able to tell the story as many Indonesian dishes are associated with ceremony and ritual,” Messakh said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism has selected five national dishes and assessed the list of culinary destinations in the country including Jakarta and Bandung. It hopes to capitalise on the culinary industry which has reached IDR 54.6 trillion, or valued at 42 per cent of the total revenue in the creative economy.
In terms of branding, Gupta Sitorus said that millennials are the foodie generation, which proves that the country’s culinary riches are the driving force of the economy, and millennials are able to create new history. “By 2020, 80 per cent of the world’s population will be filled with millennials, the generation most obsessed with food. We have to tell the story of Indonesian food through the right branding,” Gupta said.