Sriwijaya XXVIII Festival – the latest iteration of South Sumatra’s premier cultural event held from June 16 to 22 around the iconic Ampera Bridge in Palembang – pulled out all the stops to woo the public with a host of colorful festivities showcasing local heritage, as well as the history of the titular ancient kingdom.
The festival’s lavish performances, which included a traditional dance extravaganza and a fashion carnival featuring the works of local fashion designer Eva Oktaviani, have struck a chord with local residents over the years.
However, several stakeholders in the tourist sector bemoaned the fact that the festival had remained relatively unpopular among tourists from outside the region.
Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association head in South Sumatra, Herlan Asfiuddin, said the Sriwijaya Festival had yet to make a significant contribution to the growth of local tourism. He added that the festival organizers should go the extra mile to make the festival appear more attractive to tourists.
“[The festival] was not in the best shape. It needs a thorough evaluation,” Herlan said on the sidelines of the festival’s closing event on Saturday.
The Tourism Ministry’s deputy for marketing development, Rizky Handayani, said that besides improving the quality of the festival, another important part of the equation was to ensure that domestic and international tourists were aware of the event in the first place.
“Sriwijaya XXVIII Festival is the most anticipated event in this year’s National Tourism Calendar. The event organizers must make sure that future iterations of the festival will attract more tourists,” Rizky said, adding that the region should also come up with a new event that would draw in more tourists.
South Sumatra Governor Herman Deru said his administration would conduct an evaluation of the event to improve future Sriwijaya Festivals. He added that next year’s festival was poised to become even more festive in hopes of appealing to tourists.
“Through the festival, the South Sumatra administration would like to invite the public to learn from our history. Our administration will also keep learning from our past experiences to ensure that the festival remains appealing among tourists,” he said.