The Tourism Ministry will ink a cooperation agreement with Spanish company Paradores de Turismo de España to develop historical buildings in Indonesia, aiming at boosting their economic value in addition to the government’s preservation efforts.
Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Tuesday that he had asked the company to send his office a proposal on cooperation after meeting its representatives and the Spanish government during his recent visit to that country.
“The cost [of developing the buildings] is surprisingly low, only US$120,000 for three historical buildings,” he said on the sidelines of the Cipta Pesona Wisata Awards event in Central Jakarta.
Arief expressed the hope that the deal could be sealed soon so that the parties could immediately implement the cooperation.
Paradores is a state-owned company that manages historical buildings owned by the Spanish government through a hotel chain system.
The company, which was established in 1928, develops historical buildings, which include castles, palaces, fortresses, convents and monasteries, and turns them into profitable hotels, better known as paradors.
Currently, the firm runs more than 90 paradors across the country with its Hostal de los Reyes Católicos in Santiago de Compostela one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in the world, and one of the finest Spanish paradors.
Arief invited Indonesian regions that owned historical buildings and wanted them to be developed by Paradores to submit their applications to his office so that the government could select three sites as pilot projects.
“One site in Bali has expressed its willingness [to join the project],” he said, adding that he expected the Surakarta and Jakarta administrations or other historical building owners would also submit their proposals.
He expressed the hope that the three chosen sites could be developed as models for a heritage-based hotel chain in Indonesia by 2019 so that the buildings would not only be preserved but also have an intrinsic economic value. “Tourist attractions have to be able to generate their own income to preserve the sites themselves,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s deputy for destination and tourism industry development, Dadang Rizki Ratman, said that economic value was among the main indicators of sustainable tourism currently being developed by his office.
“We are working with the United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] to introduce the sustainable tourism observatory project in 20 regencies and cities nationwide by 2019,” he said, adding that three locations; Pangandaran in West Java, Yogyakarta and Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara, were currently pilot project sites.
As part of the program, the ministry awarded the Cipta Pesona Wisata Awards on Tuesday to five individuals and organizations that have successfully developed tourist attractions using sustainable tourism concepts. –