Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tourism Ministry Looks to Rendang, Shopping to Boost Tourist Numbers

Two of Indonesia’s most-loved dishes — rendang (meat curry) and nasi goreng (fried rice) — are being touted as the key to boosting tourism in the country, along with shopping.

According to survey data from the Ministry of Tourism, 51 percent of local and foreign tourists in Indonesia have two main objectives: bargain-hunting and sampling the country’s distinctive cuisine.

“For foreign tourists, the biggest source of spending is in the restaurant,” Marie Elka Pangestu, the newly appointed minister of tourism, said on Wednesday. “Meanwhile, for local tourists, the biggest source of spending is shopping. We will focus on and intensify shopping and culinary tourism.”

Marie said the ministry would focus on promoting iconic Indonesian dishes such as rendang, nasi goreng and the sweet glutinous rice drink known as cendol.

“Now we have to think about how to sell the concept,” Marie said. “We will discuss it.”

She also said the ministry was planning a push to promote shopping among local tourists, as many came to Java seeking a wider selection of brands and products.

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