With a wide variety of food choices available, many Jakartans are willing to travel across the city to indulge their palate, making the culinary sector the biggest contributor to tax revenue from the city’s tourism.
Jakarta Tourism Agency head Arie Budhiman said the rapid growth experienced by the food and beverage sector in the capital had made it one of the most promising sectors in tourism.
“The culinary sector has a lot of potential in Jakarta. It’s no longer about fulfilling the food needs of the people, but has also become a lifestyle for some,” he said.
Arie said the habit of many Jakartans to gather and hang out while enjoying the food offered at cafes’, restaurants or even at street-side food centers had in some way helped boost the city’s tax revenue.
Such habits have also driven the rapid growth of 24-hour convenience stores that provide food and beverages, such as 7-Eleven and Lawson.
According to Jakarta Tourism Agency, in 2011, there were a total of 3,497 food and beverage businesses in Jakarta; 2,738 of which were restaurants, 704 were bars and 55 food courts. The total number was an increase from 3,181 recorded in 2010.
The culinary sector contributed to half of the city’s tax revenue from tourism in 2011, totaling Rp 1.01 trillion, up from Rp 835 billion in 2010. The total tax revenue from tourism in 2011 was Rp 2.17 trillion, according to the Jakarta Tax Office Agency.
However, Arie said, the culinary sector in Jakarta could develop further if some of the policies regarding food imports were loosened.
“Restaurants are real economic hives that can generate a huge amount of tax revenue. I don’t think it’s supposed to be burdened by tight taxation systems,” he said. (Jakarta Post)