Jakarta. Potters Field Park is one of the most beautiful parks in London. Located at the heart of the British capital, the 6,200-sqm park offers panoramic views of London’s historical landmarks, including the Tower Bridge, Tower of London and City Hall.
But if you visit the park on May 28-29, you might feel as though you were transported to Indonesia. On that weekend, the iconic park will host “Indonesian Weekend,” a festival intended to promote Indonesia to the United Kingdom.
The festival is organized by Komunitas Bangga Indonesia (Proud to be Indonesians Community), a group of Indonesians who reside in the UK.
“We want to help the government achieve their goal of 20 million international tourist arrivals by 2019,” said Endang Nurdin Widjono, chairwoman of the community, in a press conference at the office of Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry on Tuesday (17/05).
According to Ministry of Tourism data, approximately 10,400,000 international tourists visited Indonesia last year. A significant jump in the number of international tourists arrivals will be needed to achieve the aforementioned target within four years.
“So far, the UK has contributed the highest number of tourists to Indonesia among all the other European Union countries,” Endang said.
In 2015, around 270,000 tourists from the UK visited Indonesia. This year, the ministry expects the number to go up to at least 300,000.
“Tourists from the UK are big spenders,” Nia Niscaya, the Europe, Middle East, America and Africa market development assistant deputy at the ministry, said.
According to Nia, tourists from the UK on average stay 10-14 days when visiting Indonesia and spend around $2,500 per visit, far above the average spend of international tourists last year, which was $1,200.
“We will work hard to make Indonesian Weekend a big success. It could be a great platform for Indonesian branding,” Nia said.
A showcase of Indonesian culture and artisans
The Ministry of Tourism will present the “Wonderful Indonesia” stage at Potters Field Park during the two-day event to showcase Indonesian contemporary and traditional songs, dances and games.
The Ministry of Industry, meanwhile, will bring along 16 fashion and handicraft artisans to London.
“We hope to introduce these artisans to buyers in the UK,” said Gati Wibawaningsih, representative of the Ministry of Industry.
The Ministry of Education and Culture will bring 11 performers of Indonesian traditional arts to London for the event.
“We will showcase Pencak Silat (traditional martial arts) and Gasing (top-spinning) at Potters Field,” said Ahmad Mahendra, representative of the ministry.
Indonesian actor and martial artist Cecep Arif Rahman of The Raid 2 fame, will be one of the performers during the martial arts showcase.
An array of mouthwatering Indonesian delicacies will also be available at Potters Field Park during Indonesian Weekend.
“Indonesian cuisine is not as famous as Thai or Japanese yet, but it should be. Indonesian food has multiple layers of flavors, it should do well with many people,” said Degan Septoadji, a chef who will take part in the event.
During the two-day event, Chef Degan and Chef Gede Susila will cook Indonesian food live using ingredients that people can easily find in London.
Indonesian Weekend will also incorporate fashion shows, including one for muslim fashion brand El Hijab which will showcase a special ready-to-wear collection for the international market.
“Our mission is to introduce a friendly, peaceable and fashionable face of Islam,” said Andrei Aksana, chief operating officer of El Hijab.
Local community involvement
The event will also involve several local communities in London, including Siswa Sukra—a London-based dangdut and gamelan troupe—and Good Vibrations, a volunteer organization based in London that has been introducing gamelan percussion to prisoners in the UK.
Based on local statistics, around 70,000 Londoners and tourists visit Potters Field Park on weekends.
“We hope by the end of the weekend many more people in London will know about and want to visit Indonesia,” Endang, chief organizer of the festival, said.
By: Sylviana Hamdani