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Betawi culture to enter city malls and hotels in Jakarta

Budaya betawi

As part of the effort to brand Jakarta as a city of culture, the city administration has issued a new gubernatorial decree that obliges malls, department stores, hotels and recreational sites to accommodate the development of culture-based enterprises.

The Gubernatorial Decree No. 49/2013 says that the business sites must introduce and sell traditional Betawi culture-based products as well as those of other cultures as a support to the preservation of the cultures.

Jakarta Tourism and Culture Agency head Arie Budiman said earlier this month that Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued the decree to boost the local culture as the identity of the capital city.

“Therefore, the active role of the mall, department store, hotel and recreational site owners to provide outlets for introducing and selling culture-base products is very important,” he told The Jakarta Post.

Arie said the administration hoped that if malls, department stores, hotels and recreational sites put a piece of Betawi culture in various forms, including food, souvenirs and art performance in their business operations, the image of Betawi culture would stick with Jakarta in tourists’ minds.

“It will be good to brand the city’s image as a cultural city,” he said.

Arie said the scheme of the decree implementation would be discussed further with the stakeholders.

“We will meet with them after the Lebaran vacation to get their input on how the decree should be implemented,” he said.

He said that besides discussing with the stakeholders, his agency, together with the Trade Agency and the Micro-, Small-and Medium-size Enterprises (UMKM) Agency would help the Betawi culture-based industries meet with the required standards, so they could be sold and exhibited at malls, shopping centers, hotels and recreational sites.

UMKM agency head Ratnaningsih said her agency was now registering the small and medium businesses producing products related to Betawi culture and traditional art groups in Jakarta.

“We are recording the data first to see how many of them actually have fulfilled the standard applied in the market,” she said, adding that many of them did not have any required certification.

Ratnaningsih said her agency would later create training and workshops for those who were still struggling to meet with the standards.

The vice chairwoman of culture-based traditional industry of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), Putri K. Wardani, said she appreciated the step taken by the governor to support the development of the culture-based products.

Budaya betawi

Putri, who initiated the decree, said only a small number of malls, hotels and recreational sites had involved themselves with such industry.

Putri, who is also the CEO of cosmetic company Mustika Ratu, said that the decree would force the business owners to more actively involve and give opportunities for culture-based producers, mostly small and medium enterprises, to have a chance to develop.

“I hope the city administration would also keep monitoring and controlling the implementation of the gubernatorial decree,” she said.

Indonesian Association of Shopping Centers chairman Handaka Santosa supported the gubernatorial decree, saying that introducing traditional culture was one of the shopping malls’ concerns.

Handaka said, however, that the administration should give them time to adjust and implement the decree.

“Making a regulation is easy but implementing it is another story,” he said, adding that it took time to adjust with every new regulation. “Give us suggestions and solutions how to put the regulation into a real action,” he said.

Jokowi seems to be determined to change the image of Jakarta into a city of culture. He recently obliged Jakarta administration civil servants to wear Betawi attires every Friday.

He also gave a hint to require buildings that will be built in the capital city to characterize Betawi culture.