Palembang`s songket traders gear up for influx of foreign tourists - Tourism Indonesia


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Palembang`s songket traders gear up for influx of foreign tourists

Songket traders in Palembang, South Sumatra, have geared up for the influx of foreign tourists during the 18th Asian Games scheduled to be held in the city and Jakarta from Aug 18 to Sept 2.
Illustration. Palembang songket weaving is displayed in an exhibition. (ANTARA PHOTO /Ahmad Subaidi)
Zainal Arifin, one of the traders of this traditional woven fabric, informed Antara here on Tuesday that he will attempt to utilize this opportunity of foreign visitor arrivals by making his shop "Zainal Songket" rank in the top list of South Sumatra`s tourist destinations.

To this end, he will rope in two or three Songket weavers at his shop to enable the visiting foreigners to get a close glimpse of the weaving process of this traditional fabric, Arifin noted.

"Thus, foreign visitors are expected to develop a greater inclination for this hand-woven fabric than machine-made cloth," Arifin remarked, adding that he will employ some 40 Songket weavers at his shop during the Asian Games.

Prior to Asia`s largest multi-sport event, traditional weavers worked from their homes for decades. However, during the Asian Games, they will be stationed at his shop, so they could demonstrate the weaving process to the foreigners, who will be able to commend their work.

"They will be proud of what they do when they see many of the foreigners traveling to Palembang for the Asian Games buy songkets," Arifin, who also sells other traditional clothing from Palembang, including Jumputan or dotted and floral-motif cloth, noted.

With a shop located on Ki Gede Ing Suro Street of the city, Arifin has widely been known among Songket lovers owing to his consistency in running his business since decades.

For the 18th Asian Games, he has kept in stock some eight thousand pieces of Songket and set the selling price in the range of Rp250 thousand to Rp7.5 million per piece, he noted.

The entire pieces of Songket, usually made in silk or cotton, with unique patterns of gold or silver threads, are the works of local weavers residing in Palembang and several districts in South Sumatra, he remarked.

Indonesia will host the Asian Games for the second time this year after Jakarta was selected as the venue for the Asian sporting event for the first time in 1962. By virtue of its hosting of the 2018 games, the country aims to secure a place among the top 10 largest sporting events.

The games will be attended by 45 countries and will feature 462 events across 40 sports, of which 32 are Olympic sports and eight are non-Olympic events.

The Olympic sports are Aquatics, Athletics, Fencing, Weightlifting, Basketball, Handball, Badminton, Baseball/Softball, Cycling, Equestrian, Golf, Wrestling, Hockey, Judo, Karate, Canoeing and Kayaking, Sailing, Shooting, Modern Pentathlon, Archery, Sport Climbing, Rowing, Rugby, Gymnastics, Roller Skating, Football, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Boxing, Triathlon, and Volleyball.

The non-Olympic sports are Bowling; Bridge; Cricket; Kabaddi; Martial Arts, including Jujitsu, Kurash, Pencak Silat, Sambo, and Wushu; Mechanical Sports, such as Paragliding and Jet skiing; Squash; and Sepak Takraw.

Indonesia has set a target of entering the top 10 in the event by winning a minimum of 16 gold medals. (Antara)

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