Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. Indonesian tourism’s booster-in-chief called on the nation’s architects to contribute their talents to the 16 strategic tourism areas and creative zones that are currently being developed by her ministry.
“I’m sure creative architectural ideas can transform a location into an attractive tourism spot with international competitiveness,” Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said at the opening of the 15th Asian Congress of Architects in Nusa Dua on Monday.
Mari told attendees from 18 Asian nations that by 2014, Indonesia expected to record 10 million foreign visitor arrivals and 255 million trips by domestic tourists, with their spending reaching as much as Rp 191.5 trillion ($20 billion).
Mari said buildings were just as important as beaches in making those projections a reality.
“Architectural works that meet [tourists’] expectations will make them happily return to Indonesia,” she said.
“It’s not just about drawing pictures and designing; architecture should also take into consideration environmental values and local wisdom,” she added.
The minister said local wisdom had been incorporated in such a way since 1974 in the resort island of Bali, where buildings cannot rise higher than 15 meters, or higher than the tallest coconut tree in an area.
Architects’ role in a tourist’s experience, from hotels and restaurants to malls and monuments, should not be overlooked, Mari stressed.
“Tourists who are on vacation are not only enjoying the tourism sites or staying in the hotels, but they also go out shopping and go sightseeing to other locations,” the minister said.
Endy Subijono, chairman of the Indonesian Architects Association (IAI), said the weeklong Nusa Dua conference offered a forum to exchange ideas.
This year’s congress is themed “A Modernism Challenge: Asian Cities and Architecture Heritage in a New Paradigm.”