Diaspora, Cultural Heritage and Tourism
A new perspective on the importance of preserving cultural heritage across the world has recently been emphasized both culturally and economically to benefit human civilization going forward. One of the arms of the United Nation, UNESCO has ratified its significance through its member nations. While the benefits can be foreseen, it is certainly a challenging undertaking that requires high levels of creativity mostly out the box approaches. One obvious reason is that cultural conservation and promotion will only make sense if it is economically sound and sustains. Surakarta City, better known as Solo, is one of the centers of Javanese culture that is rich in history dated back to the ancient Javanese kingdoms. It is an attractive tourist’s destination. It has seventy historic buildings, monuments, and urban sites of cultural significance. They are arranged into six category areas or districts that are composed of traditional, colonial, and religious buildings, gates, memorials, bridges, parks, and open public spaces as listed in the Provincial Decree and are protected under Cultural Property Law. Its cultural heritage also includes important urban areas. Surakarta's physical appearance is well defined and is its tangible cultural heritage. While it is important, the wealth of knowledge and skills that are transmitted from one generation to the next play very crucial roles. Intangible cultural heritage includes oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge, and skills needed to create traditional arts and crafts. This intangible cultural heritage must be nurtured in the social and daily life of its people and interwoven into the mainstream of social groups and will determine the survival and success of cultural heritage succession.
This paper will discuss potential roles of diaspora in cultural heritage preservation, promotion, and tourism in Surakarta based on the unique characteristics of diaspora, their needs, interests, views, and economic capabilities. By understanding the nature of diaspora, their potentials can be channeled to promote and safeguard cultural heritage and empower citizens to be actively engage in sustainable economic activities. Interlocking between economic and intangible cultural heritage of Surakarta is a step forward to economic and cultural prosperity.
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