TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Tourism Minister Arief Yahya has said Indonesia will be the global tourism destination for vegetarians. As many as 10 regions, including Belitung, Banten, Tomohon, Batam, and Pontianak, have been eyed to become the destinations for vegan tourists.
“At first, when asked about tourism destinations for vegetarians in the country, we already have one in Belitung. The object is a village with its organic garden,” said the minister in his opening speech for the Budaya Alam Nusantara [The Archipelago Natural Culture] Concert at the Tourism Ministry building, Wednesday, April 2.
Other than the organic garden, Minister Yahya explained various culinaries are also offered for vegetarians, such as gado-gado [mixed vegetable salad with peanut sauce], fried rice, sayur asem [vegetables in tamarind soup], and pecel [boiled vegetables with peanut sauce]. According to The Global Vegetarian Index issued by Oliver’s Travel, Indonesia sits in the Top 20 Vegetarian-friendly Countries.
Of 183 countries around the world, Indonesia ranked 16th with 438 vegetarian restaurants. Meanwhile, the top destinations for vegetarian tourists are China and India. India is the country with the largest vegan community of 350 million people, followed by China at some 50 million.
China and India are among the countries with large contribution of foreign tourists to Indonesia. China's contribution amounted to 2.2 million visits, while India is among the top five, surpassing Japan. Some 700,000 tourists from India are reported to enter Indonesia this year, increasing by 40 percent from last year.
FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA