The on-going 26th Southeast Asian Games is expected to help promote Indonesia`s tourism, particularly the tourism development in Jakarta and Palembang which host the region`s biggest sport events from November 11 to 22, 2011.
Indonesia is hosting the 26th SEA Games where 296 sport branches are be competed in Palembang and the other 266 branches in Jakarta.
The foreign athletes, officials and supporters will automatically become tourists who at a certain occasion would be potential to return to Indonesia as tourists
"The big event of this scale is effective in attracting more tourists to Indonesia. Those who come to Indonesia are not only athletes but also their supporters," Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu said on Saturday.
The activities will also develop the creative economic sector and promote the country`s culture and tourism in the wide sense.
"Creative industry will develop significantly through sports events of this kind," the minister said.
The same view was also expressed by the home affairs promotion director of the Tourism and Creative Economic Ministry Muhammad Faried said. "This event will be a very effective tourism promotion media," Muhammad Faried said.
The minister said that the arrivals of many visitors to Jakarta and Palembang as the hosts of the SEA Games should be taken as an advantageous opportunity to promote Indonesia`s tourism.
Mari Elka Pangestu said that the biggest Southeast Asian Games were effective in promoting the Indonesian tourism while developing the creative economic sector.
The turnover of the MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition) sector like those of hotels and meeting convention halls will also be boosted during the SEA Games events.
During the events, athletes, officials and supporters from various countries in Southeast Asia, or even from the world, will visit Indonesia to witness the games.
After the games, they could also become international tourists who at another time to come would return to Indonesia.
Therefore, the minister said her office was determined to make use of the 26th Southeast Asian Games in the two places of Jakarta and Palembang as one of the country`s means of tourism promotion.
The provincial administrations of Jakarta and South Sumatra will offer several tourism packages for the athletes namely the Palembang city tour and four Jakarta tourism packages.
In Palembang, some of the tourism events which enliven the SEA Games are among others the Sriwijaya International Expo, Arts & Culture and Film Week 2011. Besides, the events could also promote South Sumatra`s traditional `songket` dresses.
"There are many ways of promoting cultures such as making use of the current SEA Games to promote the Palembang songket," Tourism and Creative Economic Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said when she visited the songket production center in Tanggabuntung area, South Sumatra, on Saturday.
The minister asked `songket` dress producers to make use of the on-going SEA Games as a means of promoting Palembang`s cultures such as its `songket` dresses.
She cited Palembang as an example where noted producers of local traditional `songket` dress, like Zainal Songket and Fikri Collection in the Tanggabuntu songket production center, were expected to be flooded by orders.
"Zainal is convinced his turnover would jump up to 300 percent during the SEA Games while Fikri predicts his business could increase 75 percent," Mari said.
In the meantime, the Jakarta regional administration, which co-host SEA Games, also offered tourism packages. The tourism packages which will be offered for the athletes are the free-of-charge city tours to the Old Town, the National Monument and the Indonesia in Miniature Park. Apart from that, the athletes will also have opportunities for shopping at famous shopping malls.
Therefore, the Jakarta Administration hoped that SEA Games XXVI athletes who came to the Indonesian capital city would enjoy their visits like in line with Jakarta`s tourism slogan: "Enjoy Jakarta".
"We are having good coordination in order to turn Jakarta as a friendly host which serves hospitality, provides security while the people and government give their best services. We hope that the SEA Games athletes would enjoy their visits in Jakarta," Sukesti Martono, assistant to the Jakarta governor for cultural and tourism affairs said.
Sukesti said the SEA Games would boost the tourism activities, including the business activities of hotels, culinary businesses and recreation centers in Jakarta.
"This is a chance for Jakarta to serve delegations from the ASEAN countries, not only their athletes but also their officials and supporters. This is a good chance to increase economic activities," Sukesti said.
The SEA Games is participated in by thousands of athletes from 11 countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Timor Leste, Vietnam and Indonesia as the host.
Indonesia has several times hosted the Sea Games, namely the 10th Sea Games in 1979, the 15th Sea Games in 1987 and the 19th Sea Games in 1997.