Indonesian Lawmakers (DPR) have agreed to a total budget of Rp. 2.064 trillion rupiahs (US$229.3 Million) for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for 2011.
Speaking on Metro TV at a Commission X meeting of the DPR, Indonesia's Minister for Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, said: "From the standpoint of either promotion or cultural development, the budget is disappointing, but as a patriot I cannot say it is inadequate. I must be aware that the country is still incapable of allocating more."
Wacik explained that the national law requires priority be given to the educational sectors which must receive 20% of the state budget, followed by the health and infrastructure sectors. He lamented that his department must content itself with using the amount allocated in an "optimal, efficient, effective and spirited" way.
"I cannot whine with a budget of this size; I must be enthusiastic and use the budget effectively and efficiently," said Wacik.
The 2011 promotional budget for Indonesian tourism is far below the amount spent by neighboring countries, such as Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia.
In 2004, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism received only Rp. 600 billion (US$6.6 million). This amount has steadily increased from year to year to the 2011 total of Rp. 2,064 trillion.
In 2010, the Ministry was allocated Rp. 1.6 trillion (US$177.7 million).
The national legislators called on Wacik to not only focus on tourism development but to also dedicate his Ministry to developing Indonesian culture. Their calls also directed Wacik to focus his efforts on revitalizing some of the nation's main museums.
Among the shopping list of projects to be pursued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the DPR members listed cultural education programs for Indonesian schools, research on how to develop the national character, and the improvement of the grave-site of former Indonesian president Abdurahman Wahid (Gus Dur) to accommodate the growing number of visitors traveling to his burial place to pay homage.
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