Yogyakarta`s authorities are organizing various art festivals, carnivals, and cultural performances in Malioboro, the city`s landmark thoroughfare, in an effort to further enhance the famous street`s ability to draw tourists.
"We have a theme that described creativity between the Mount and the Ocean to mark the opening of the Yogyakarat Arts Festival (FKY) 2011. This is to portray the real conditions of Yoyakarta," FKY 2011 chief Ryan Budi Nuryanto said.
Yogyakarta is not only known as a center of educational activity but also as a special administrative region rich in historical and cultural values that are attractive to tourists.
Besides Malioboro as a tourism icon, Yogyakarta also has Kotagede, a former center of the Islamic Mataram Kingdom in the 16th century that could be developed into a main tourism destination.
Yet visitors to Yogyakarta should not miss Malioboro, a famous downtown district where visitors can buy low-priced gifts. One cannot be considered to have been to Yogyakarta if one has not yet visited Malioboro.
In order to maintain Yogyakarta`s attractiveness to tourists, the local authorities continue to promote the local tourism potentials. The Yoyakarta Arts Festival 2011 was officially opened on Monday night, marked with cultural carnivals involving at least 500 artiest along Jalan Malioboro Street up to the Vredenbur Fortress.
The cultural carnival started from the Yogyakarta Tourism Service with a group of marching bands followed by colossal dances carrying a theme: "The Crown of Yogyakarta`s Glory,". Puppet shows and other forms of local arts such as angguk and `jathilan` arts are also presented.
"All forms of events in the cultural carnivals are local arts that described the theme we want to introduce. We want to show that arts developing in Yogyakata are really influenced by the presence of Mount Merapi in the North and the Indian Ocean in the South," Ryan said.
The FKY 2011 will also be held with the holding of an Arts Market at the Museum of the Vredeburg Fortress, which will last until July 5, 2011. At the arts market, at least 160 stands have been built which offered different kinds of handicraft products, batik clothes and furniture.
The committee has set itself a target of concluding transactions worth Rp5 billion during the holding of the arts market. This value is twice higher than the transaction values concluded in the same event last year which was only Rp2 billion.
"We and the Indonesian Furniture Businesses Association (Asmindo) will also donate furniture to the victims of Mount Merapi eruption who are still staying in emergency makeshifts. But we are still taking stocks of their need in the face of the coming post-fasting month lebaran festivities" he said.
Apart from the FKY 2011, the local authorities will also hold a Malioboro Festival. The Malioboro Festival is scheduled to be held on June 25-26, 2011.
Local tourism official Putu Kertayasa said that Malioboro Festival would introduce various attractions of Nusantara Stage, Symphony for Indonesia, Shadow Puppet Performance, Sapta Pesona Competition, Malioboro Photo Competition, and Malioboro Food Bazaar.
He said that Malioboro street needs to feature more activities or objects of interest to tourists. "To enliven Yogyakarta`s attraction to tourists the Malioboro area must present more things of interest to them," Putu said.
Besides Malioboro, the Yogyakarta Tourism Promotion Board (BP2KY) is also planning to promote Kotagede so that the former center of the Mataram Kingdom would become a main tourist destination in Yogyakarta.
"Kotagede has a big potential to be developed as a main tourism destination. It`s just reasonable if it later becomes Yogyakarta`s main tourism destination," Yogyakarta BP2KY head Dedy Pranawa Eryana said on Tuesday.
Kotagede has a number of attractive tourism potentials such as silver handicraft, culinary and religious tourism or visits to historic mosques, tombs of kings and various other local cultures and local people`s unique life.
"I think the Kotagede tourism potentials could be sold such as those in Penang, Malaysia, where heritage tourism developed well," Dedy said. Kotagede potentials can be sold not only to foreign tourists but also to local travelers, or domestic tourists.
He said that possibly foreign tourists would prefer to stay in Kotagede to enjoy and learn the activities and daily life of the local people.
"Therefore, the development of tourism destinations in in Kotagede needs to be supported with the development of home stays at residents` houses," Dedy added.
For this purposes, the development of Kotagede needs not only physical preparations but also the readiness of good human resources.
Head of the Preservation and Development of Cultural Values Affairs of Yogyakarta`s Culture and Tourism Service, Widiyastuti said Kotagede had yet to become a main tourist destination but it had the potentials.
"However, it has many tourism potentials with cultural tourism as its icon," she said. It also still needs additional supporting facilities such as areas to be developed into parking lots.
"The tourism potentials owned by Kotagede are not only attractive to foreign tourists but also to domestic visitors," she said.