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Better in Batik

Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, Wants Batik Cloth and Designs to Become a Centerpiece of Indonesian Tourism.

(12/12/2009) Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, has issued instructions to Indonesia's provincial governors and the tourism industry calling for the greater use of batik in a wide range of activities in order to preserve and promote indigenous Indonesian culture.

Wacik quoted by Bisnis.com at a batik-themed seminar held at Atma Jaya University in Jakarta, said: "At the beginning of December we will receive certification from UNESCO for batik which will be handed to me in Paris as the representative of the Indonesian government. This development must be followed up with steps to preserve (batik) among the people by applying batik to designs, ornamentation, uniforms and alike."

Wacik's letter of instruction asks Indonesia's governors to intensify batik as part of the national identity through its use in uniforms and other applications. Hotels have been asked to decorate their lobbies with batik and incorporate the use of batik in staff uniforms.

Wacik revealed that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has personally designed a batik incorporating the motif of a traditional sword (keris) and Indonesian shadow puppets as a inspiration to other Indonesians to develop their own signature batiks designs.

The Chairwoman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), Yanti Sukamdani, commented that the use of batik in the national hotel and restaurant business was nothing new. "For a long time batik has been used in uniforms, room interiors, bedspreads, room paintings and resultant napkins. Now, following international recognition (of batik), we can sharpen our focus and used batik everywhere. The recommendation of the Minister of Culture and Tourism represents no burden to our hotels who are already using batik in a number of applications," explained Sukamdani.

The PHRI Chief said that international hotel chains tended to be more proactive in using batik in various aspects of their operation. She said she hoped that apartments and other levels of accommodation in Indonesia, such as "melati hotels," would also use batik in their business activities.