Mon, 14 Jul 2003

Jakarta Fair fails to reach target of 2 million visitors

Rizky KD Ntoma, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The month-long Jakarta Fair was finally closed on Sunday by event organizer chairman Guruh Soekarnoputra, a younger brother of President Megawati Soekarnoputri. The closing ceremony was marked by fireworks and a concert from rock band Jamrud.

A total of 1,760,315 visitors attended the annual event at the Jakarta Fairground in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. The number was higher than last year's 1,468,019 visitors but was still lower than the expected two million visitors.

Opened on June 12, the number of participating exhibitors reached 1,186, well above the target of 950.

Jazai, a public relations officer at the fair, said that as of Friday business transactions had reached Rp 180 billion (US$21.9 million), dominated by automotive and electronic sales. The target was Rp 200 billion.

"The revenue from ticket sales until Saturday reached around Rp 12 billion. We can't give the exact amount because we have to wait for ticket sales for today. The result will be announced next week."

The performance of several top local artists including gyrating dangdut queen Inul Daratista, pop/rock group Dewa, pop group Sheila on Seven and rock groups Slank and Jamrud boosted visitors to the fair, which is staged to celebrate the city's anniversary.

"Many teenagers came to Kemayoran to watch their idols performing here," Jazai said.

Besides targeting youth spectators, the organizers also arranged shows for children, featuring child singers Tasya, Joshua and Marshanda.

Despite the extravaganza, visitors complained about the increasing price of the tickets. The entrance fee was Rp 6,000 on weekdays and Rp 8,000 on weekends. The price is slightly higher than last year's weekend entrance fee of Rp 7,500.

Fahruddin, from Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, said the ticket price should not be raised every year.

"I don't know why they raise the ticket price because I don't see any significant changes," said Fahruddin, who said he had visited the fair every year since it was staged at the National Monument (Monas) park in Central Jakarta.

He also hoped the organizers returned the event to Monas because "Kemayoran is too far away".

Budi Utomo from Bekasi also complained about the entrance fee.

"The Jakarta administration should do something about it like give a subsidy, for instance," he said. However, he was impressed with the change of stall arrangements at the fair.

Ronny from Bintaro called on the organizers to give cheaper prices for weekend tickets.

"Besides, the site in Kemayoran is too far, it would be better at Monas," he said.

Ronny suggested the committee provide more entertainment for children.

"I can't understand why the children's playground is located in a hot, open area. The committee should provide an air- conditioned area, like in the malls, and have more attractions for kids," he said.

Food vendors also complained they were not allowed to operate in certain areas.

Rahim, a 50-year-old kerak telor vendor from Warung Buncit, complained about the increasing costs of renting space. It cost him Rp 450,000, 50 percent higher than last year's Rp 300,000.

"I also hope to be able to sell inside the fairground next year. The outer area is not a strategic place to sell, visitors can hardly see us," he said.

Next year's fair is scheduled to take place between June 17 and July 18.