Cambodia learns about West Java
Recently, at the Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh, five women of the Sunda ethnicity – originally from West Java – took to the stage dressed in peacock costumes with crests of large, iridescent, stiff, tail-shaped tail feathers. spatula. They were smiling as they moved together performing a classical Sunda dance mimicking the movements of the birds their costumes evoked.
Their dance originates from their West Java homeland of Indonesia where it is known as the Peacock Dance or Tari Merak and it is traditionally performed to welcome guests of honor on special occasions. This time the occasion was the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia Hybrid Famtrip: Exploring the Land of Sunda event on November 27.
Famtrip or familiarization trip is a term from the tourism, travel and hospitality industries. These are trips organized by entities such as tour operators, airlines, hotel chains – or the tourist board or government of a given destination – so that travel agents, travel editors, journalists and others become familiar with a given place so that they in turn can recommend it to their customers, readers, etc.
The pandemic has triggered the phenomenon of the âhybridâ famtrip, which takes the destination to other places through cultural events and takes place partly in the form of a virtual tour.
âThis is actually our first hybrid family trip. The Indonesian Embassy is working to explore potential cooperation between tourism associations, operators and travel agents from Indonesia and Cambodia. It is also about reintroducing and inviting Cambodians to experience a virtual tour of West Java and creating a Sundan atmosphere through performances of dance and music, cooking, clothing, cultures and contact between people.
âThere was also a virtual trip to the Asia-Africa museum which contains a ‘Sihanouk Corner’ and we engaged visitors in fun games and interactive quizzes,â Indonesian Ambassador to Cambodia Sudirman Haseng told The Post.
The hybrid family trip was conducted in part live from the Indonesian Embassy in Phnom Penh and brought together representatives from government departments, tour operators, travel agents, airline executives and travel influencers, who all benefited from a virtual tour of West Java. .
At the Embassy there were stations featuring various items from Indonesia with the option to try on traditional Indonesian clothes and try various West Java foods and drinks or purchase West Java “souvenirs” to bring back. at home.
Participants all happily walked around the Embassy grounds chatting and engaging in cultural exchanges while some Cambodians had their photos taken with Indonesians wearing traditional costumes and clothing.
The ambassador said the event was focused on West Java because his government would like to showcase the potential of the destination as a place that can easily accommodate almost all types of travelers, from junkies to adrenaline rush to avid adventurers to shop until the bargain hunters drop. romantic honeymooners or business people, students or families.
âThere are over 400 tourist attractions in West Java, both natural and man-made. You can find beaches, mountains, forests, lakes, waterfalls and also cultural and historical tourism. In addition, West Java holds a special place in the history of Cambodia.
âIn 1955, Prince Norodom Sihanouk – who was then also Prime Minister – led the Cambodian delegates attending the Asia-Africa Conference or Bandung Conference there. And then, in 1988, the Bogor Palace in West Java was the site of the first informal meeting in Jakarta, which led to the Cambodian comprehensive peace agreements, âexplains the ambassador.
The Sihanouk Corner of the Asia-Africa Museum is a space dedicated to the late King Father. It is dominated by a huge photo of a photo of Prince Sihanouk meeting Indonesian Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidjojo, while below is the original sofa they are sitting on in the photo. Nearby are other related material such as a translation of the Ten Principles of Bandung into the Khmer language.
Beyond West Java, the ambassador says there are thousands of fascinating destinations in Indonesia as the country consists of 17,504 islands with 1,340 ethnic groups. This means that wherever tourists go in Indonesia, they will find different experiences, cultures, landscapes, history, heritage and charms.
âBali is our most famous vacation destination. However, we also have what we call the ânew markupâ. These are five top priority destinations that you should visit as a tourist in Indonesia: Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur in Central Java, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara and Likupang in North Sulawesi, âhe said.
Borobudur is widely known as the largest Buddhist temple in the world. The temple comprises a large structure topped by three circular platforms engraved with more than 2000 carved relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.
Mandalika on the island of Lombok is a vast expanse of beautiful white sand beach facing the Indian Ocean with crystal clear waters and although the beaches are the main attraction there, Mandalika has also just hosted the World Superbike Championship. from 19 to 21 November 2021, and it will hold a second series of MotoGP races in March 2022.
Labuan Bajo is home to the fierce Komodo dragons, the heaviest lizards on the planet, and some of the biggest. The national park that is home to the dragons is also home to other fascinating animals both on land and underwater.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic which began at the end of 2019 and continues today has sharply reduced the number of Cambodian visitors to Indonesia. Before the pandemic, Sudirman said they run the familiarization trip every year as part of their program introducing foreign visitors to different tourist destinations in Indonesia.
The trips were usually made in cooperation with the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Creative Economy in Indonesia as well as with some local governments and they invited journalists, tour operators and other influencers to visit Indonesia.
Now, living under the “new normal” and hosting the event virtually was quite difficult to prepare, Sudirman says.
âFor example, we had to create real interactions with visitors so that they feel, hear, taste, smell and experience a part of the real West Java. Some West Java food ingredients had to be imported because they were not available in Cambodia. We decided to use the history and relations between the two countries as a pivot point.
âTo create an interactive engagement with the participants, musicians used traditional Indonesian musical instruments like angklung to play a Cambodian folk song called Arabpiya. It was really appreciated by the public, âsays Sudirman.
Besides the hybrid family trip, he says they also hope they can use Cambodia’s momentum as ASEAN president in 2022 and Indonesia’s presidency of the ASEAN Tourism Forum next year to promote tourism between the two countries.
In addition, they will try to resume direct flights between Phnom Penh and Jakarta as soon as possible after having to stop them due to Covid-19 earlier in the pandemic.
âWe hope that next year Cambodia will physically resume its annual Cambodia Travel Mart, so that we can participate and travel operators buy Indonesia travel packages so that more Cambodian tourists can travel and have different adventures and create sustainable trips. memories in Indonesia, âhe says.
He says they will also do their best to implement a memorandum of understanding between PT Taman Wisata Candi – which manages the Borobudur temple – and the Apsara National Authority, which manages Angkor Wat, as a vehicle to promote tourism between the two countries.
For example, they could create a package for tourists visiting Angkor Wat temple to also visit Borobudur by scheduling direct flights between Siem Reap and Yogyakarta to connect these two World Heritage sites. Once in Yogyakarta, visitors can also visit the temples of Prambanan and Ratu Boko which have similar structures to some of the temples of Cambodia.
âOur two countries share many similarities in various areas. We have the twin World Heritage sites. We share the story of Panji. We share common words in our languages ââand similar views as a member of ASEAN. We have enjoyed a successful relationship for decades and will continue to do so in the decades to come, âsaid the Ambassador.
The Ambassador noted that various Indonesian products ranging from pharmaceuticals to cookies and instant noodles are available for sale in Cambodia and that Indonesia also continues to seek opportunities to encourage its state-owned enterprises as well as other large Indonesian private companies to invest in Cambodia.
âThe thriving relationship between our peoples is reflected in Indonesia’s continued support for improving Cambodia’s human resources. We believe that creating a better understanding of Indonesia in Cambodia must be done through our people and especially the young people who will become the future leaders of Cambodia, some of whom have studied in Indonesia through scholarships.
âBut culture is the easiest and funniest way to understand each other’s countries. A good understanding of each other’s cultures will open the doors for further cooperation in other fields such as politics or economics and trade, âSudirman said.