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Jero Wacik's First 100 Days of His Second Term

Interview with Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism Self-Assesses the First 100 Day of His New Term of Office.

Bali News: Indonesia, Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, Hundred Days, Soedirman
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The January 31, 2010 edition of Bali Post carried an interview with Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik in which he assessed the success of his work program for the first one-hundred days of his second ministerial term. What follows is's free translation of that interview.

What programs were prioritized as part of your kinetic contract as a member of the 2nd United Indonesia Cabinet?

A required program was the creation of Strategic Plan for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Renstra). Formerly, there was the Broad Guideline of State Policy (GBHN), but now we formulate the Renstra leading to the national medium (RPJM) and long-term (RPJP) development plans which define the our plan and policy for the coming five years of the government.

It is a requirement of law to create the Renstra for the first 100 days. This book is compiled by accommodating public opinion as well as stakeholders. Also considered are the ideas of cultural experts, voices from the tourism industry and our accumulated experience. All these results are bundled up, all parties are invited and the process concludes with a coordinating meeting to assemble the Renstra.

After that, we hold hearings with Commission X of the House of Representatives (DPR-RI) which sees the book finished on the 75th day. The book is titled "Strategic Plan for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism 2010-2014." Inside is a complete plan covering what will be done through the end of term in 2014. What we want to do with culture, what we want to do with tourism and where we want to go. For example, growth rates (targets) are listed from year to year.

How about other kinetic contracts?

There is the additional requirement to prepare a study for the creation of an agency for the management of the world and national heritage sites, using the Borobudur temple as a pilot project. Step by step we have composed the book by inviting stakeholders' participation. In addition, we have also made a complete inventory of national and regional cultural creations.

In connection with cultural creations, what's been done?

Within 100 days, I have already recorded some 350 cultural creations. There are many examples in this context, such as traditional homes, traditional architecture, oral traditions, traditional foods, and more. The cultural creations have been registered in case that some time in the future someone or another country claims these creations we will have the necessary data.

How about the implementation of related programs in the kinetic contract?

We will soon launch two books with multiple chapters – "The History of Indonesian Culture" and "Indonesia in the Current of History." We are not yet able to launch as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wants to meet with the 75 historians involved in preparing the books. The introduction to these books by the President is being prepared. These books will become texts for school children and the entire Indonesian people. The President's guidance to the historians is to create an accurate record and not history as written by the victors. This will preserve the book for the future, regardless of who's in power.

The development of a historical complex the General Soedirman is a part of your working program. Can you explain?

Within the framework of commemorating the national service of General Soedirman, the government in the guise of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Armed Forces Historical Center and the Department of Public Works are building a General Soedirman Historical Center in the village of Pakis Baru, Nawangan, Pacitan Regency, East Java. Based on historical values and a desire to instill love of country in the younger generation, the government is revitalizing the complex. Soon President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will inaugurate the complex.

What can we learn from reflecting on the struggles of General Soedirman?

The historical center is comprised of two main buildings. The main structure covers 14 hectares and includes copper base-reliefs depicting 38 episodes from Pak Dirman's life, dating from his birth until his death. There are also dioramas relating 18 episodes showing the revolutionary struggle that began on August 17, 1945. I inaugurated the reliefs on January 5, 2010. The work on the dioramas continues.

There is an audio-visual room, documentary films collection, a library and an 8-meter high statue of Pak Dirman. His headquarters is located 2 kilometer from the complex. Before he based himself at the village of Pakis Baru, Pak Dirman undertook a guerrilla journey from Yogyakarta through 8 regencies covering a distance of 1,000 kilometers. That is the reason I decided to build 8 gateways leading into the complex.

* * *

The problem of the national film industry is a priority. Following its complete collapse, what can be said?

After a total collapse lasting 12 years, "Festival Film Indonesia" was held again in 2004. This policy received positive support from the film community. From year to year new film productions increased, while during the years 2002-2003 the production of films was still very low with around 11-14 titles, but new film developments gave signs of encouragement. In the years 2005-2006 there were 33 titles; 2007 produced 53 titles; 2008 recorded 87 titles and 2009 saw 75 titles. In addition to feature films for theatres there were also film series produced for television stations. Television films in 2007 totalled 234 titles; 441 titles in 2008; and 452 titles in 2009.

Traditional arts are little appreciated. As a part of your first 100 day program what's been done?

We held a "Sasando Music Festival" December 17-20, 2009, with the theme "I'm Sure We'll Arrive" that won an award from the President. The Festival was guided by directions provided by the President during a visit to Kupang on June 14, 2009, who called for the protection, development and utilization of traditional art forms which is a part of our valuable national culture. The "Sasando Music Festival" form a part of the "culture line" that connects the nation stretching from Sabang to Merauke; from Maingas to Roti Island. Clearly, holding this event is just one step in the preservation of the traditional arts in Indonesia.

What about tourism programs?

Greater promotion of tourism to achieve visitor targets for both foreign and domestic tourists remains a commitment of the Department of Culture and Tourism. Our exhaustion at the end of the year is connected to the 6,495,000 foreign visitors to Indonesia in 2009, an increase of 0.4 percent when compared to the 6,429,027 foreign visitors who came in 2008.

Foreign exchange from foreign visitors, based on available data, records an income of 6.4 billion U.S. dollars, a decrease of 12.3% when compared to the previous year when 7.3 billion U.S. dollars was earned. This decrease is due to lower spending per visit which in 2009 averaged US$995.93 and a shorter length-of-stay of 7.69 days, compared to US$1,178.54 and 8.58 days recorded in 2008. Meanwhile, domestic tourists in 2009 undertook 229.95 million trips during which Rp. 128.77 trillion (US$128.77 million) was expended.This is an increase in domestic tourism of 2.18 percent as compared to 2008 when there were 225.04 million trips.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has made the National Program for Empowering the People (PNPM) as part of national tourism development. What's been done?

The PNPM program was started in 2009 and carried out in 104 villages across 57 districts, 40 regencies and 17 provinces. On the average each village was given a direct cash grant of between Rp. 50 and 80 million (US$5,000 – US$8,000). This year, plan to help 200 villages covering 131 districts, 83 regencies and 20 provinces. On the average each village will be given direct cash grants of between Rp. 60 – Rp. 90 million (US$6,000 – US$9,000). The goals are to promote the involvement and mutually profitable cooperation of all parties in creating tourism villages; enhancing the ability of the people; increasing access to capital resources; increasing awareness and participation of the people; and promoting the mastering of information and technology. This program is the concrete manifestation of the government's desire to involve the public as tourism practitioners while, at the same time, improving the management of tourism attractions. Because of this program, there will be 450 tourism villages in operation by 2011 and 1,000 in 2014.

What is the status of Indonesia's human resources in tourism?

The quality of human resources in the tourism sector plays a very important role in the success of the industry, depending greatly on the quality of high-tech and high-touch capabilities among tourism workers. The service given by front-liners and managers have a great effect on bringing repeat business to tourism companies. Because of this, efforts to improve the quality of the labor force must be ongoing. To do this the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has created a certification program in Hotel and Restaurant and Spa competency in 10 lead destinations. There have been 3,420 people certified for their competency in the Hotel and Restaurant category and 580 people certified in the spa sector – bringing the total to 4,000.

What we have done is one of the steps done to meet the demand for professional workers who have international accreditation. We are very thankful that our Higher School of Tourism (STP) has earned a Tourism Education Quality Certificate (TedQual) – an international acknowledgement of the quality of Indonesia's tourism graduates.

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