On Thursday, August 9, 2001, President Megawati Soekarnoputri announced the line up for the "Gotong Royong" or "teamwork" cabinet that will support her until 2004.
There was a collective sigh of relief from the business and private sectors as the President seemed to largely "do the right thing" and assembled a team of professionals, refusing to succumb to pressures insisting she divide prized ministerial posts among the nation's political partisans. Underlining that relief is a strengthening Rupiah against the U.S. dollar quickly approaching the psychological barrier of Rp. 9,000 = US$ 1.00.
Indonesian tourism circles were pleased to see the return of Mr. I Gede Ardika to the top tourism post, albeit now serving as a National Minister for Culture and Tourism in what is termed a "non-department" ministry. Minister Ardika, a life-long public service professional in the tourism sector, is respected both at home and abroad for his grasp of tourism issues and vision of building a national tourism structure anchored on cultural values and producing economic and social benefits to the local community.
The Minister is a graduate of the National College of Hotel Management in Bandung, West Java, as well as a school of international hotel management in Switzerland.
The downsizing of Minister Ardika's portfolio from a full ministerial department to a "Ministry of State" means that the Ministry's tourism staff, perhaps numbering 1,000 employees, must now be trimmed down to something in the vicinity of 150. This does not include several thousand more staff from the "culture" side of his old ministry who will also be made redundant as the result of Minister Ardika's culture and tourism team being relegated to a lesser "non-department" ministry.
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