In an effort to promote Aceh as the primary destination of halal tourism, the Aceh Tourism Agency showcased cultural dances, travel packages and local products at two recent events in Singaraja, Bali on Wednesday (17/05) to Sunday.(Buleleng District Photo)

Aceh Aims to Attract Tourists at Balinese Arts Festival, Buleleng Expo

BY : JAKARTA GLOBE

MAY 22, 2017

Bali. In an effort to promote Acehas the primary destination of halal tourism, the Aceh Tourism Agency showcased cultural dances, travel packages and local products at two recent events in Singaraja, Bali on Wednesday (17/05)  to Sunday.

"We are promoting Aceh as a family-friendly halal tourist destination at the Bali Arts Festival and Buleleng Expo 2017," Aceh Tourism Agency head, Reza Pahlevi, said on Sunday.

Members of the performing arts group Cut Nyak Dhien Meuligoe Studio showcased some of Aceh's famous cultural dances, such as the Prang Sabil and Saman dances.

"The Prang Sabil dance and Saman dance were performed elegantly during the opening night mesmerizing foreign tourists," he said.

In 2011, Unesco officially recognized Aceh's traditional Saman Dance, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. International performers have also featured the dance in their videos, including Coldplay's single "Amazing Day."

"It is our pride for an Acehnese dance to be performed at the Bali Arts Festival," Reza said.

The agency also worked with two travel agencies, Aceh Great Wall Tour and Asoe Nanggroe Tourism, at the Buleleng Expo. Together, they sold travel packages and promoted local products such as coffee, traditional clothing and souvenirs.

"Hopefully the tourism industry in Aceh will develop and have a positive impact on the economy," Reza said.

Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya said that it is strategic to promote tourism to Aceh from Bali.

"[Bali] is perfect, as 40 percent of tourists first arrive in Bali. So, Bali is the perfect spot for promotion," Arief said.

Aceh can capitalize on the global boom of halal tourism. Out of the 6.8 billion people living in the world, 1.6 billion are Muslims and 60 percent are under 30 years old.

Data from the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) in February 2016 by CrescentRating — the world's leading authority on halal travel — shows that in 2014, there were 116 million halal travelers.

The report predicts that there will be 180 million travels by 2020. In Indonesia, the number of halal travelers increased by 15.5 percent over the past three years.

"The total expenditure for the world's Muslim population has reached $142 billion, almost equal to the expenditure of Chinese tourists at $160 billion, and all countries hope to attract these tourists – especially those hoping to boost tourism numbers. Aceh has made the correct move," Arief said.

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