Domestic tourism soars in China but foreigners stay away

BBC/KATHERINA TSE A popular thing to do in Wuzhen is to pose for photos dressed in traditional hanfu clothing
A popular thing to do in Wuzhen is pose for photos dressed in traditional hanfu clothing

With the Chinese economy facing massive challenges, there have been concerns over its growth potential, at least in the immediate future.

Yet a key exception is emerging in the form of domestic tourism.

Last week’s five-day public holiday to mark labour day saw 295 million trips made within China, according to figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This was 28% higher than pre-pandemic figures recorded in 2019.

The Transport Ministry’s figures are also staggering: 92 million rail trips; almost 10 million air trips and 1.25 billion highway journeys.

However, this comes as international arrivals continue to lag, with foreigners currently entering China at barely 30% of 2019 levels. Why the disparity?

The beautiful historical river town of Wuzhen, a short drive from Shanghai, is considered one of China’s top visitor sites for travellers of all types. When we arrive the little pathways and old bridges which cross narrow waterways are filled with visitors.

A popular thing to do in Wuzhen is to pose for photos dressed in traditional hanfu clothing – as if you have really been transported back hundreds of years.

Two women in their 20s, friends since high school, are visiting from Jilin Province in the north east. After arriving, they spend an hour getting their hair done in an elaborate imperial-era style – and they are full of praise for Wuzhen’s classical beauty.

We ask if, following the post-Covid opening up, many of their family and other friends have been travelling much? “Of course, after the pandemic, we’re all visiting other places.”

Nearby a local man who is selling ice-creams also says tourist numbers are “not that bad lately”.

As good as before Covid? “Almost the same,” he replies.

Shopkeeper Wang Ying, who sells traditional snacks, echoes this sentiment with a big smile on her face. “Business is going well, and it’ll only get better.”

BBC/KATHERINA TSE Wuzhen is considered one of China's top visitor sites
Wuzhen is considered one of China’s top visitor sites

All this will be seen as good news for the Chinese government. It’s been saying that a push on domestic consumption can counter the significant faltering portions of the economy.

Major players in the once-mighty property sector are struggling to stay afloat, local government debt continues to rise, and persistent youth unemployment has left highly qualified university graduates uncertain of their future.

Amid all these challenges, the Communist Party has set a target of “around 5%” GDP growth for this year. Apart from the fact that analysts have long questioned the veracity of the country’s official growth figures, economists are also asking how such a target can be reached, in any genuine sense, in 2024 without significant extra stimulus.

One lifeline could be a more buoyant travel scene which could bring broader business opportunities and greater service industry employment.

Schubert Lou, chief operating officer at travel agency, told the BBC: “We’ve seen very strong domestic travel demand with search volumes in hotels up 67% compared to last year, and flight volumes up 80%.”

Tourism industry consultant Peng Han from Travel Daily is following the investment trail to see how the business community really views the possibilities in the sector.

“With famous international hotel brands – like Intercontinental, Marriott and Hilton – you just have to look at their growth in China in 2023,” he says. “Then check the performance goals for these large hotel groups in 2024 which have also been set relatively high. This shows that they are very optimistic about the growth potential of the Chinese market.”

But, while the volume of local travellers might be up, Mr Peng does point to the problem of per capita consumption which remains persistently low.

He says general uncertainty about the Chinese economy is putting more emphasis on saving, so people are looking for good value options. They are going on holidays and paying for things but doing so much more frugally.

This is where an increase in big-spending foreigners could help. But they are simply not travelling to China in the numbers they used to.

In 2019, nearly 98 million international visitors came to the country. Last year it was only 35 million – including business trips, students and the like. Mr Lou describes the domestic versus international market as “uneven”.

For many in the tourism industry here specialising in services for foreign travellers, “uneven” would be an understatement. Three years of harsh Covid prevention measures drove down arrivals from other countries, but that alone can’t account for the current situation.

Huang Songshan, the head of the Centre for Tourism Research in the School of Business and Law at Australia’s Edith Cowan University, blames this weakness in part to “the shifting geopolitical landscape globally”.

Getty Images Chinese performer
China’s culture and heritage has traditionally been a big draw for tourists

In the peer-reviewed East Asia Forum, he pointed to a 2023 survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre, writing that, “Most individuals in Western nations hold unfavourable views towards China. The Chinese government’s tightening grip on societal regulations could potentially cause discomfort for foreign travellers in China.”

Official travel advice from some governments echo this sentiment, at times quite harshly.

Washington warns potential travellers to “reconsider travel to Mainland China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, including in relation to exit bans, and the risk of wrongful detentions”.

Australia advises “a high degree of caution” warning that “Australians may be at risk of arbitrary detention or harsh enforcement of local laws, including broadly defined National Security Laws”.

The political environment has also taken a toll on flight availability and price. This is especially the case with connections to and from North America. Last month’s 332 scheduled round trips between China and the US contrasts with 1,506 in April 2019.

As a result, finding a seat on a direct flight can be extremely difficult and those that are available are very expensive.

President Xi Jinping made a speech at a dinner on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in San Francisco last November addressing this point. “Today, President Biden and I reached important consensus,” he told the crowd.

“Our two countries will roll out more measures to facilitate travels and promote people-to-people exchanges, including increasing direct passenger flights, holding a high-level dialogue on tourism, and streamlining visa application procedures. We hope that our two peoples will make more visits, contacts and exchanges and write new stories of friendship in the new era.”

Washington has since increased the number of Chinese airline flights permitted to land – but only from 35 per week to 50. It is still well short of the 150 weekly trips pre-Covid.

The Biden administration is coming under pressure from unions and US airlines to not increase this any further because, they argue, Chinese airlines have an unfair advantage over them as they have state support; don’t face the same onerous Chinese regulations; and, crucially, can fly over Russian airspace, making trips shorter and cheaper.

A letter to the US government from the Chair of the House Committee on China, Mike Gallagher, and the committee’s top Democrat representative, Raja Krishnamoorthi, reads: “Should the US-China passenger carrier market expand without the US government addressing these significant issues, US aviation workers, travellers and airlines will pay a hefty price tag.”

Mr Lou says the frequency of international flight connections is definitely having an impact.

“What we are seeing right now, based on civil aviation data, is that inbound flight capacity won’t get back to even 80% of 2019 [levels] by the end of 2024.”

Then there are other potential turnoffs for those considering travelling in China, like the country’s state-of-the-art phone app payment and booking systems which work very smoothly for Chinese citizens and residents, but which can be an enormous headache if you have just arrived.

There are certain sites, transport options, and purchases which can only be accessed via Chinese electronic apps which are, at times, only available in Chinese.

Professor Chen Yong at Switzerland’s EHL Hospitality Business School is an authority on the economics of tourism in China. He thinks that hurdles relating to payment and booking apps can pose a real problem.

“Technologies such as social network websites, online maps, payment apps, among others, which foreigners have long been accustomed to using, are either unavailable or inaccessible when they travel to China,” he says.

“On the other hand, there are Chinese alternatives to these technologies that remain inaccessible to foreigners due to language barriers and differences in user habits. We need to bridge this divide because it affects the tourist industry badly.”

Back in Wuzhen, the presence of international travellers is much smaller than in years gone by, but there are still a few foreign faces in the crowd.

An Italian couple says the process of linking up to and using China’s payment apps was a challenge but that it was not insurmountable, though they add, with a laugh, that it is “much, much, much easier” if you have a Chinese friend to help you.

BBC/KATHERINA TSE Woman and child pose for selfies
Chinese officials have acknowledged that the foreign traveller numbers have been low but they are trying to turn this around

Eliseo, from California, says he has had problems making payments to small vendors who don’t accept credit cards and really no longer deal with cash. Another hurdle for him has been his bank at home which has blocked some payments, flagging them as potentially fraudulent coming from China.

Chinese officials have acknowledged that the foreign traveller numbers have been low but they are now trying to turn this around.

One way they’re attempting to attract more foreign visitors is by increasing the number of countries whose citizens don’t need a visa to enter. says this resulted in an almost immediate increase in passenger arrivals from Southeast Asia.

In 23 Chinese cities, transit passengers from more than 50 countries are also able to stay for a few days visa free if they have an onward ticket. In Shanghai, hotels above a three-star level have been told that they should prepare to deal with international credit cards and an initial batch of 50 taxis have also started accepting them.

However, Professor Chen says “it would be too optimistic to envision a long-term growth in China’s inbound tourism”.

“The key is to establish a culture that puts service providers in the shoes of foreign tourists. They should imagine themselves being a foreigner who can’t speak or read Chinese and who doesn’t have a Chinese mobile number, payments apps and so on.”

He says that the culture around this can’t be changed overnight.

Yet, in places like Wuzhen – where the local travellers have already returned – the tourism companies are hoping that incredible sites like theirs will eventually be too much for foreigners to resist as well.

Lok Sabha 2024: The influencers driving India’s big election

BBC InfluencersBBCInfluencers like Ranting Gola (left) and Sham Sharma are using their social media presence to promote political parties

Just weeks before the first ballot was cast in this year’s Indian election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at an event in Delhi rubbing shoulders with people known by names like BeerBiceps and Curly Tales.

The event – an awards show, congratulating some of the country’s top social media stars on their work – was an acknowledgement of the power of the influencer which a few years ago may have seemed unimaginable.

And as politicians prepared to battle it out for India’s billion votes, these influencers were being lined up to play a crucial role in reaching the young, the disinterested and the disillusioned.

But even as some celebrate social media’s democratisation of the media – a place where any one can share their views freely – others paint a darker picture, one where threats are rife, and the truth can be set aside for the right pay cheque.

A decade ago, you would have struggled to find anyone calling themselves an “influencer”.

But now, says Vinay Deshpande, co-founder of Rajneethi, a political management consultant firm, “it’s become a profession”.

“I know teenagers who are doing this part-time to earn pocket money.”

Pocket money underplays the earning potential somewhat, however. At the lower end, people can charge around 2,000 rupees ($24; £19) a day, but top influencers can pull in about 500,000 rupees for a post – equivalent to the monthly salary of someone in top-level management.

The creator of the Ranting Gola channel revealed to the BBC that political parties and election management firms have offered as much as “100,000 to 500,000 rupees for a single campaign”.

It is no small amount – but then, it could turn the tide in a candidate’s favour.

Presentational grey line

Mr Deshpande says they have helped an opposition candidate win an assembly election by pushing out content through a curated list of local influencers with a small but active following.

“Social media content is powerful and can influence the way a person feels about an issue,” Mr Deshpande says. “It gives social currency to a belief or opinion – but this can lead to a lack of critical thinking about an issue,” he adds.

Preethi Aggarwal, 25, is one of those who turns to apps like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to help her understand the news.

Like thousands of others, Ms Aggarwal follows a bunch of “political influencers”, or people who talk about politics on social media to “really understand what’s going on”.

“News can get boring and complicated sometimes. I think these people [influencers] make it fun and easier to understand,” she says, adding the context and their own perspective help her form her opinions.

But the problem is, whose perspective is she getting?

PMO India / YouTube InfluencersPMO India / YouTubePM Modi congratulated Ranveer Allahbadia (left, known as BeerBiceps) and other influencers at a recent event

YouTuber Samdish Bhatia reveals numerous politicians have reached out to him, especially in the months before this election, offering him millions of rupees to interview them.

“But they wanted me to share questions in advance or get the video approved before it’s published,” he says, adding that he declined the offers because he “likes to maintain editorial control”.

The particular trend for longer form, slightly chummy interviews – where politicians get to show off their human side – is particularly vulnerable to management, says Joyojeet Pal, an associate professor at the University of Michigan.

“Many of these interviews are carefully managed by politicians,” Mr Pal says.

But even if they aren’t, a gentler style of questioning can also blur the line between interview and promotion, says Mr Pal.

“If your questions aren’t holding power to account, then the interview just becomes a platform for easy publicity.”

But for Mr Pal, this is just one of the problems he sees with politics on social media.

In a recent research paper, he examined some of India’s top influencers and who they interviewed, finding BJP leaders were featured more often than opposition leaders.

His research also found an overall drop in the number of accounts posting content critical of the incumbent government in recent years, while the amount of pro-BJP content had increased.

“This hints at a growing hesitancy among people to be openly critical of the government whereas there seems to be more confidence in putting up polarising content or content that supports the government’s ideologies,” Mr Pal says.

“And this is dangerous for democracy,” he adds.

Getty Images InfluencersGetty ImagesEven in the most remote areas, Indians have access to a mobile phone and internet

Influencers supporting the opposition certainly suggested they were working in a hostile environment.

A number who post content that’s critical of the government declined to speak to the BBC for this piece citing fear of repercussions by the government. They also run their channels under pseudonyms to keep their identities secret.

The Ranting Gola told the BBC that she has often received comments that are abusive or threatening because of the videos she posts and that her Instagram account has been disabled numerous times, even though the platform hasn’t given her a clear reason for doing so.

She also only spoke to the BBC on the condition that her name not be revealed.

The BJP government has denied allegations that it has clamped down on dissent and free speech.

But even pro-BJP YouTuber Sham Sharma told the BBC that freedom of speech could be a problem in India:

0:52YouTuber Sham Sharma talks about the positives and perils of sharing his views online.

But even given these concerns, opposition parties are using the same influencer system to reach voters in what they say is a difficult environment.

“The mainstream media has been taken over by the BJP,” alleges Supriya Srinate, who heads social media for the Congress party.

“Our funds have been frozen; we have no money to advertise,” she adds, referring to action taken by India’s tax department weeks before the elections. Congress leaders have accused the government of political vendetta, but the government has denied the allegation and said that the federal department was doing its job independently.

Influencers, Ms Srinate argues, are a good way to reach voters as a result of these alleged hurdles, explaining the Congress has been working with “volunteers” who believe in the party’s ideology and want to share its work on social media.

Ankit Lal, former political advisor of the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), agrees that influencers have helped democratise the publicity landscape.

Akash Banerjee, a former journalist who runs the YouTube channel, The DeshBhakt, argues that influencers are also able to push boundaries more than the traditional media can.

He cites the video ‘Is India becoming a dictatorship?’ – made by popular content creator Dhruv Rathee, who is based in Germany – which takes on the government directly, and has been viewed about 24 million times on YouTube so far. The government hasn’t reacted to the video yet.

“After the video, the term ‘dictatorship’ has popped up more in conversations, and this is something that has never happened before,” Mr Banerjee says.

“Our job as influencers may not be to open the window and check if it’s really raining, but we owe it to the nation to take a look outside the window and let people know if dark clouds are approaching and that they can do something about it by voting.”

Baltimore sues owner and manager of ‘unseaworthy’ Dali over bridge collapse

Getty Images An aerial view the morning after the bridge collapseGetty ImagesThe Dali was a ‘clearly unseaworthy’ ship with ‘an incompetent crew’, the city of Baltimore argued in a lawsuit filed Monday

Baltimore has sued the operators of the container ship that hit and destroyed one of the US city’s main bridges last month, killing six people.

The city says the Dali was “clearly unseaworthy” and accuses its owners and manager of negligence.

The ship’s Singapore-based owner and manager have already asked a court to limit their liability.

The region is reeling from the closure of its busiest maritime transit port after the span collapsed on 26 March.

“None of this should have happened,” attorneys representing the Baltimore mayor and city council argued in a federal lawsuit.

The city is asking the US District Court of Maryland for a jury trial to hold the defendants fully liable.

Naming the Dali’s owner, Grace Ocean Private Limited, and its manager, Synergy Marine Private Limited, the suit alleges the Francis Scott Key Bridge’s collapse was a direct result of their “gross negligence, and recklessness, and as a result of the unseaworthiness of the Vessel”.

On 1 April, Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine petitioned the same federal court in Maryland to cap its responsibility for the incident.

Citing a pre-Civil War maritime law, the pair of companies estimated their liability for the vessel and the cargo’s value at $43.6m (£35m).

Monday’s court filing from the city of Baltimore rebuts that number as “substantially less than the amount that will be claimed for losses and damages arising out of the Dali’s allision with the Key Bridge”.

The path taken by the cargo ship – which was exiting the Port of Baltimore under the Key Bridge – is “no stranger to large freighters”, the city’s representatives wrote.

They said the vessel “had been experiencing an inconsistent power supply” that was either not investigated or not fixed.

“The Dali left port anyway, despite its clearly unseaworthy condition,” said the lawsuit.

The filing also says the Dali was manned by “an incompetent crew that was inattentive to its duties” and “lacked proper training”.

Contains upsetting scenes.Tracking data shows the path of the Dali container towards the bridge

On Friday, port officials opened a third temporary channel for boats to enter and exit the corridor, but these channels can only sustain about 15% of pre-collapse commercial activity.

A fourth channel, that will allow most traffic back into the port, is expected to open by the end of the month.

Darrell Wilson, an attorney who represents Synergy Marine and is also handling media inquiries on behalf of Grace Ocean, told the BBC it would be inappropriate to comment on the litigation while federal investigations into the collapse were ongoing.

New drone video shows close-up view of debris from the Baltimore bridge collapse

Six construction workers who were fixing potholes died when the bridge collapsed. Two of the bodies have yet to be recovered.

Workers are still extracting thousands of tonnes of debris from the water and from atop the stationary Dali, whose original schedule would have seen it arrive at a Sri Lankan port on Monday.

Apart from two of the ship’s pilots, 21 crew members – almost all of whom are of Indian origin – remain on the ship. There is no timeline yet for when the crew will disembark or head back to sea.

Pertamina Tindak Tegas SPBU Gunakan Alat Tidak Standar Di Karawang

Pertamina Tindak Tegas SPBU Gunakan Alat Tidak Standar Di Karawang  Rakyat Merdeka – Pertamina Patra Niaga Regional Jawa Bagian Barat (JBB) mengambil tindakan tegas atas temuan adanya tambahan alat switch di 3 dari total 8 dispenser SPBU 34.41345 Jalan Tol Jakarta – Cikampek Rest Area KM 42, Wanasari, Telukjambe Barat, Karawang, Jawa Barat dengan mengeluarkan Surat Peringatan Pertama dan Terakhir serta instruksi segera mengganti 3 dispenser tersebut dengan dispenser baru yang siap operasional selambat-lambatnya 2 (dua) minggu sejak terbitnya Surat Sanksi dari Pertamina Patra Niaga kepada SPBU.

Dispenser yang bermasalah dari hasil pengecekan lapangan oleh petugas Direktorat Metrologi Kementerian Perdagangan Indonesia dalam rangka persiapan Satgas Ramadan&Idul Fitri (RAFI) 2024 tersebut masih memiliki sertifikat Tera Metrologi yang berlaku sampai dengan 13 Februari 2025, dimana Tera dilakukan tanggal 13 Februari 2024.

Area Manager Communication, Relation & CSR Pertamina Patra Niaga Regional Jawa Bagian Barat Eko Kristiawan mengatakan sanksi yang diberikan oleh Pertamina kepada SPBU sesuai dengan yang tertera dalam kontrak perjanjian antara Pertamina dengan SPBU, dalam lampiran sanksi kontrak untuk jenis pelanggaran Operasional di poin nomor 10 disebutkan bahwa SPBU bisa diberikan sanksi apabila melakukan “Rekayasa dengan menggunakan alat/cara lain untuk merubah Meter”, dan sanksi yang diberikan adalah “Surat Peringatan pertama dan terakhir, disertai penghentian sementara SPBU selama minimal 1 (satu) bulan dan Pertamina dapat mengambil alih pengelolaan SPBU, serta dikenakan denda sebesar Rp.25/liter untuk seluruh produk BBM dikalikan omzet rata rata bulanan 3 (tiga) bulan terakhir.

“Apabila SPBU tidak dapat melaksanakan ketentuan dalam sanksi yang diberikan oleh Pertamina maka SPBU akan diberikan sanksi yang lebih tegas lagi”, terang Eko.

Pertamina menjamin kelancaran distribusi dan ketersediaan stok BBM bagi seluruh masyarakat terutama di wilayah Karawang dan sekitarnya.

Apabila masyarakat membutuhkan informasi terkait produk dan layanan Pertamina serta subsidi tepat, dapat menghubungi Pertamina Call Center 135.

Jalankan Makan Siang Gratis, Gibran Berguru Ke India

Wakil Presiden terpilih Gibran Rakabuming Raka bersalaman dengan Duta Besar India untuk Indonesia, Shri Sandeep Chakravorty di Kantor Wali Kota Solo, Senin (1/4/2024) . (Foto: Dok. Pemkot Solo)
Wakil Presiden terpilih Gibran Rakabuming Raka bersalaman dengan Duta Besar India untuk Indonesia, Shri Sandeep Chakravorty di Kantor Wali Kota Solo, Senin (1/4/2024) . (Foto: Dok. Pemkot Solo)  Rakyat Merdeka – Wakil Presiden terpilih Gibran Rakabuming Raka terus menggodok program makan siang gratis sebelum resmi dijalankan. Salah satu caranya adalah dengan berguru ke India. Negara tersebut dianggap sudah berhasil menjalankan program makan gratis dengan efisien.

Hal tersebut disampaikan Gibran usai berbincang dengan Duta Besar India untuk Indonesia, Shri Sandeep Chakravorty, Senin (1/4/2024). Dalam pertemuan tersebut, Wali Kota Solo ini mengaku sempat membahas program makan siang gratis yang jadi jargon kampanye di Pilpres 2024.

Menurut Gibran, program Makan Tengah Hari (Mid-Day Meal/MDM) milik Pemerintah India efektif. Menunya mirip dengan uji coba program makan gratis, antara lain makanan mengandung protein termasuk susu.

“Pak dubes bilang satu kepala satu anak itu 11 sen (dolar Amerika),” kata Gibran saat ditemui di Balai Kota Solo, Selasa (2/4/2024).

Menurut Gibran, keberhasilan program makan siang di India ini antara lain karena sentral kitchen dan logistik yang efisien. Karena alasan itu, Gibran mengaku akan mengirimkan tim ke India untuk belajar program makan gratis di sana.

Putra sulung Presiden Jokowi ini mengakui ada banyak negara di dunia yang menjalankan program makan siang gratis. Ia ingin mempelajari program-program yang sudah berjalan untuk diterapkan di Indonesia. Tak hanya produksi makanan dan distribusinya, Gibran juga ingin meniru keterlibatan ahli gizi dalam program-program tersebut.

“Kita belajar dari negara-negara lain yang sudah menjalankan program ini, efeknya seperti apa ke anak-anak, ke murid-murid. Lalu kita belajar pendistribusian logistiknya seperti apa, central kitchen-nya seperti apa. Keterlibatan ahli gizinya seperti apa,” kata Gibran.

Menurut Gibran, makan gratis telah menjadi program di 76 negara. Namun, dengan skema yang berbeda-beda, antara lain India dan Jepang. India sudah berjalan dengan populasi yang cukup banyak.

Gibran mengatakan sedang menyiapkan skema terbaik supaya program makan gratis tidak memberatkan APBN.

Menurut dia, Indonesia tepat telah menghubungi India untuk melakukan pembahasan sebelum menjalankan program makan siang gratis.

Sebelumnya, Bank Dunia mengingatkan agar program makan siang gratis disiapkan dengan matang. Kepala Perwakilan Bank Dunia untuk Indonesia dan Timor-Leste Satu Kahkonen mengatakan, Pemerintah perlu terlebih dahulu menetapkan dengan pasti bentuk dan sasaran serta anggaran program tersebut.

“Semua rencananya harus benar-benar dipersiapkan dan biayanya juga dipersiapkan,” kata Satu Kahkonen.

Juru bicara TKN Prabowo-Gibran, Viva Yoga Mauladi, mengapresiasi masukan dari Bank Dunia itu. Viva menyebut program makan siang memang sudah dilakukan di sejumlah negara. Dia menyebut anggaran makan siang akan dirancang untuk APBN 2025.

Kemudian, Viva menyebut kementerian terkait nantinya akan membuat perencanaan secara detail, rasional, dengan manajemen modern dan profesional. Hal itu, katanya, agar tidak ada kesalahan atau penyimpangan, dapat lebih efisien, efektif, tepat sasaran, tepat mutu dan gizi, dan tepat lokasi.

Warganet menjadikan topik ini menjadi bahan perbincangan. Akun @mikomsujat berharap Prabowo-Gibran merealisasikan janji makan siang gratis. “Kata-kata itu doa. Berani berkata harus berani melaksanakan,” ujarnya. “Program makan siang gratis mesti dipersiapkan dengan baik, agar berguna bagi peningkatan gizi siswa,” timpal @NasionalisSiber. “ Tinggal nanti diimplementasikan,” tambah @wongsakti.

Akun @alfiannoro mengatakan tak ada salahnya belajar pada DKM yang setiap bulan puasa memberikan makan gratis full 1 bulan. Sementara akun @utrajao jika pemerintah belajar makan gratis ke India. Mengingat jajanan jalanan India mengerikan. “Kenapa harus India. Ngeri kali,” ujarnya.

Duta Besar Ukraina Untuk Indonesia Gelar Kuliah Umum Di President University

Duta Besar Ukraina di Indonesia, Vasyl Ivanovich Hamianin menghadiri Guest Lecture di President University pada Kamis (21/3). (Foto : ist)
Duta Besar Ukraina di Indonesia, Vasyl Ivanovich Hamianin menghadiri Guest Lecture di President University pada Kamis (21/3). (Foto : ist)  Rakyat Merdeka – Duta Besar Ukraina di Indonesia, Vasyl Ivanovich Hamianin menghadiri Guest Lecture di President University pada Kamis (21/3). Kegiatan ini digelar untuk mempererat hubungan internasional dan interaksi budaya antara Indonesia dan Ukraina. 

Rektor President University Handa Abidin mengungkapkan President University mendukung upaya untuk meningkatkan pendidikan di Indonesia, termasuk melalui kerja sama internasional, dengan mengedepankan interaksi budaya antara Indonesia dan Ukraina sebagai salah satu langkahnya.

“Diplomasi menjadi salah satu jalan yang dapat ditempuh untuk kolaborasi. Salah satu bentuk program diplomasi yang dapat dihasilkan antar negara meliputi kerjasama pendidikan, kebudayaan dan menjalin hubungan erat,” kata Vasyl dalam keterangannya, Minggu, (24/03/ 2024).

Vasyl menyebutkan, saling mendekatkan diri dan mendalami pemahaman tentang kekayaan budaya masing-masing menjadi awal yang baik untuk menggali potensi kolaborasi ke depan.

Dalam acara yang dihadiri mahasiswa Hubungan Internasional dan Hukum Internasional President University itu Vasyl juga menyampaikan terbukanya potensi kolaborasi walau saat ini situasi di Ukraina masih belum stabil. 

“Program pembelajaran jarak jauh dapat menjadi alternatif untuk kerja sama untuk memberikan pemahaman bagi pelajar Indonesia yang tertarik untuk mengenal dan memiliki ketertarikan lebih lanjut terkait budaya Ukraina.” kata Vasyl.

Vasyl juga menyampaikan bahwa program pertukaran pelajar secara luring dapat dilakukan dengan pemilihan tempat di daerah yang lebih aman, khususnya di sekitar perbatasan barat. 

“Peluang kolaborasi ini membawa potensi besar untuk mencapai tujuan yang diinginkan.” lanjutnya. 

Manajer Hubungan Internasional India dan Indonesia di The Ukrainian Institute, Yulia Mykulych, salah satu delegasi dari Ukraina yang turut hadir dalam acara eksplorasi budaya tersebut membagikan kisah dan kecintaannya dengan budaya Indonesia. “Saya sangat suka Bahasa Indonesia, bahkan di Ukraina terdapat jurusan sastra dan bahasa Indonesia.” tutur Yulia.  

Yulia menyampaikan bahwa saat ini ia sedang menempuh pendidikan doktoralnya dan menjadi orang pertama yang mengambil S3 mengenai sastra dan bahasa Indonesia di Ukraina. 

“Walau banyak serangan dan deportasi yang sedang terjadi di Ukraina, tidak menutup langkah saya untuk dapat belajar dan lebih mengenal budaya Indonesia. Saya pernah mengikuti darmasiswa di Universitas Padjadjaran.” ungkap Yulia.

Yulia memperkenalkan Ukrainian Institute sebagai sebuah organisasi publik yang mempromosikan pengetahuan dan pemahaman yang lebih baik tentang Ukraina secara internasional dan mengembangkan hubungan antara Ukraina dan negara-negara lain menggunakan alat diplomasi publik dan budaya. 

Yulia menekankan bahwa salah satu cara untuk memperkuat kerja sama bilateral adalah melalui bidang seni. Indonesia yang kaya akan keberagaman budaya memiliki kesamaan dengan Ukraina. 

“Kita dapat memperkuat hubungan lintas budaya antara Indonesia dan Ukraina serta memperkaya keragaman budaya yang ada.” Ungkap Yulia.

Lebih lanjut kata Yulia, “Sama seperti Indonesia yang memiliki Bhineka Tunggal Ika, kami di Ukraina juga memiliki beragam nilai kebudayaan, nilai bahasa, dan nilai seni. Namun, walau memiliki kebudayaan yang beragam kami memiliki nilai persatuan.” 

Sesi berbagi perspektif tersebut diakhiri dengan ungkapan harapan dari Yulia agar di masa depan dapat dibuka peluang kerja sama baru.

“Semoga langkah-langkah ke depan dapat membawa kemajuan yang lebih besar dalam mempromosikan kesadaran akan warisan budaya Ukraina dan meningkatkan kolaborasi yang berkelanjutan antara kedua negara.” jelas Yulia.

Yulia dan Delagsi Ukraina berharap bahasa dan budaya Ukraina juga bisa menjadi bidang studi baru di Indonesia, terutama di President University.

Jemaah Haji Indonesia 2024 Pakai Batik Model Baru, Warna Ungu Tua

Model seragam batik jemaah haji Indonesia 2024. (Foto: Dok. Kemenag)
Model seragam batik jemaah haji Indonesia 2024. (Foto: Dok. Kemenag)  Rakyat Merdeka – Jemaah haji Indonesia 2024 akan mendapatkan seragam batik model baru. Batik ini berwarna ungu tua dengan motif Sekar Arum Sari berwarna putih dan terdapat logo garuda di bagian tangan.

Model batik ini merupakan hasil sayembara dengan hak cipta desain batik dimiliki Kementerian Agama (Kemenag). Terdapat ribuan UMKM yang mengikuti sayembara ini. Dalam penyalurannya, batik ini akan dipesan bank penerima setoran untuk kemudian diserahkan kepada jemaah.

“Motif seragam batik haji mempunyai filosofi puspa nasional Indonesia digambarkan dengan bunga melati putih yang melambangkan simbol kesucian, keagungan, kesederhanaan, ketulusan, keindahan, dan rendah hati,” ungkap Direktur Pelayanan Haji Dalam Negeri Kementerian Agama (Kemenag) Saiful Mujab, dalam Bimbingan Teknis (Bimtek) Petugas Penyelenggara Ibadah Haji (PPIH) Arab Saudi 2024, di Asrama Haji Pondok Gede, Jakarta Timur, Minggu (24/3).

Saiful menerangkan, batik ini diproduksi dengan teknik batik cap, bukan printing. Seragam batik itu menggunakan bahan kain katun primisima. Kain batik ini akan menggunakan pewarna napthol dan garam diazo (pewarna sintetis).

Seragam batik jemaah haji Indonesia ini nantinya diproduksi IKM/UMKM yang telah mendapatkan Surat Keputusan (SK) Izin Produksi Batik Haji dari Ditjen Penyelenggara Haji dan Umrah (PHU) Kementerian Agama. “Jumlah IKM/UMKM yang sudah mendapatkan SK Izin Produksi Batik Haji sebanyak 81 IKM/UMKM,”” ujarnya.

Hari Gizi Nasional, Royco Edukasikan Keluarga Sajikan Hidangan Lezat dan Bergizi

Memperingati Hari Gizi Nasional 2024, Royco bekerjasama dengan BKKBN dan Lembaga Amil Zakat, Infak, dan Sedekah NU Care-LAZISNU perluas edukasi keluarga Indonesia menyajikan hidangan lezat sesuai pedoman. (Foto: Dok. Royco.
Memperingati Hari Gizi Nasional 2024, Royco bekerjasama dengan BKKBN dan Lembaga Amil Zakat, Infak, dan Sedekah NU Care-LAZISNU perluas edukasi keluarga Indonesia menyajikan hidangan lezat sesuai pedoman. (Foto: Dok. Royco.  Rakyat Merdeka – Memperingati Hari Gizi Nasional 2024 Royco bekerjasama dengan Badan Kependudukan dan Keluarga Berencana Nasional (BKKBN) dan Lembaga Amil Zakat, Infak, dan Sedekah Nahdlatul Ulama (NU Care-LAZISNU) perluas edukasi keluarga Indonesia menyajikan hidangan lezat sesuai pedoman ‘Isi Piringku’. Hal ini dilakukan guna mencegah berbagai permasalahan malnutrisi, khususnya stunting.

“Indonesia emas 2045 tidak dapat terwujud tanpa manusia yang sehat dan cerdas. Untuk itu sangat penting menjaga dan meningkatkan kesehatan masyarakat, salah satunya melalui konsumsi makanan bergizi,” ungkap Menteri Kesehatan Budi Gunadi Sadikin dalam sambutannya, beberapa waktu lalu.

Hari Gizi Nasional 2024 mengangkat tema ‘MPASI Kaya Protein Hewani untuk Mencegah Stunting’ agar praktek makanan bergizi dimulai dari keluarga, diawali dari pemahaman orang tua akan pentingnya MPASI kaya protein hewani sehingga mampu membiasakan anak makan bergizi agar bebas stunting.

Di Indonesia, 4 dari 10 anak usia 6-23 bulan tidak mendapat MPASI sesuai standar gizi dan berpengaruh pada meningkatnya risiko stunting pada anak di bawah 2 tahun.

“Oleh karena itu, edukasi dan pendampingan praktek konsumsi bergizi harus diperkuat,” ucap Menkes.

Seperti diketahui, stunting adalah kondisi yang disebabkan kekurangan gizi kronis, ditandai dengan tinggi badan yang berada di bawah standar usia dan berpotensi menimbulkan gangguan metabolik saat anak dewasa.

Berbagai upaya telah dilakukan banyak pihak hingga berhasil menurunkan prevalensi stunting menjadi 21,6 persen pada 2023 namun kolaborasi masih dibutuhkan untuk mencapai target pengurangan stunting menjadi 14 persen pada 2024.

“Sejak 2019 kami menggalakkan program ‘Royco Nutrimenu’; rangkaian kegiatan edukasi yang diawali dengan Training of Trainers (ToT) kepada kader kesehatan mengenai pedoman ‘Isi Piringku’ dan inspirasi ragam resep lezat bergizi seimbang,” ungkap Direktur Nutrition Unilever Indonesia Amaryllis Esti Wijono dalam keterangannya, Selasa (6/2/2024).

Amaryllis menjelaskan, hingga 2023, programe”Royco Nutrimenu” telah menjangkau 18 juta ibu dan remaja putri secara offline dan online, termasuk 900.000 santri di berbagai wilayah rawan stunting, dan mengubah 120 juta piring keluarga Indonesia menjadi lebih lezat bernutrisi.

Ia menambahkan, pencapaian penting lainnya adalah mendukung misi Kemenkes untuk menyebarluaskan pentingnya MPASI bergizi seimbang.

“Caranya mendorong para ibu memperkaya pengetahuan mereka, serta menghadirkan buku resep panduan kreasi aneka masakan MPASI sesuai pedoman ‘Isi Piringku’, ujar Amaryllis.

Jelang KTT ASEAN Ke-42

Menhub Cek Kesiapan Sarana Dan Prasarana Transportasi Labuan Bajo

Menhub Budi Karya Sumadi mengecek kesiapan sarana dan prasarana transportasi untuk mendukung kelancaran pergerakan para pemimpin negara dan peserta KTT ASEAN Ke-42, yang akan digelar di Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Sabtu (8/4). (Foto: Istimewa)
Menhub Budi Karya Sumadi mengecek kesiapan sarana dan prasarana transportasi untuk mendukung kelancaran pergerakan para pemimpin negara dan peserta KTT ASEAN Ke-42, yang akan digelar di Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Sabtu (8/4). (Foto: Istimewa)  Rakyat Merdeka – Menteri Perhubungan (Menhub) Budi Karya Sumadi mengecek kesiapan sarana dan prasarana transportasi untuk mendukung kelancaran pergerakan para pemimpin negara dan peserta Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi (KTT) ASEAN ke-42, yang akan digelar di Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Sabtu (8/4).

Salah satu yang ditinjau oleh Menhub yaitu Bandara Komodo yang akan menjadi tempat pendaratan pesawat para delegasi dan tim official baik dari Indonesia maupun dari negara anggota dan mitra negara ASEAN.

“Kami ingin memastikan dukungan dari sektor transportasi berjalan dengan baik, sehingga turut menyukseskan penyelenggaraan KTT ASEAN di mana Indonesia dipercaya sebagai ketua pertemuan, seperti halnya event internasional G20 tahun lalu,” tutur Menhub.

Menhub menjelaskan, fasilitas di Bandara Komodo baik di sisi darat maupun sisi udara telah siap untuk melancarkan penerbangan VVIP dan komersial. Bandara Komodo akan menjadi titik pertemuan sementara para tamu negara yang hadir di KTT ASEAN. Menhub ingin memberikan kesan yang baik kepada para tamu negara.

Kemenhub melalui Ditjen Perhubungan Udara telah melakukan upaya antisipasi dengan menyiapkan bandara alternatif terdekat dengan Bandara Komodo sebagai tempat parkir pesawat para delegasi.

Yaitu Bandara I Gusti Ngurah Rai di Denpasar, Bandara Lombok Praya, Bandara Sultan Hasanuddin di Makassar dan Bandara El Tari di Kupang. Sejumlah fasilitas pendukung lain juga telah disiapkan untuk mendukung kegiatan KTT ASEAN, meliputi fasilitas pemeriksaan CustomImmigration and Quarantine (CIQ) dan fasilitas helipad untuk medical evacuation.

Menhub juga meninjau Pelabuhan Multipurpose Wae Kelambu yang telah beroperasi pada 2021 lalu untuk melayani bongkar muat logistik.

Sebelum Pelabuhan Wae Kelambu dibangun, pelayanan kapal penumpang dan kegiatan logistik masih bercampur di pelabuhan Labuan Bajo eksisting yang saat ini menjadi dermaga marina.

Kemudian, pemerintah memutuskan untuk membangun Pelabuhan Multipurpose di Wae Kelambu yang berjarak kurang lebih 10 Km -12 Km dari Pelabuhan Labuan Bajo eksisting agar pariwisata di Labuan Bajo lebih maju dan kegiatan logistik lebih optimal.

Selanjutnya, Menhub meninjau Dermaga Marina yang menjadi salah satu ikon wisata di Labuan Bajo dan menjadi tempat sandar kapal-kapal yacht. Menhub juga meninjau Hotel Meruorah yang berlokasi di Kawasan Marina Terpadu Labuan Bajo.

Hotel yang dikembangkan oleh PT ASDP Indonesia Ferry dan PT Pembangunan Perumahan (PP) ini akan digunakan untuk kegiatan Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) dan menjadi lokasi akomodasi bagi para delegasi.

Menjelang pelaksanaan KTT ASEAN pada 9-11 Mei mendatang, Menhub menginstruksikan jajarannya untuk terus mengintensifkan koordinasi dengan para pemangku kepentingan baik dengan Kementerian/Lembaga terkait dan juga dengan operator sarana dan prasarana transportasi.

“Kegiatan internasional seperti KTT ASEAN ini menjadi momentum yang baik, untuk meningkatkan daya saing Indonesia di mata dunia, serta memperkenalkan kesenian, kuliner dan destinasi wisata di Labuan Bajo, agar sama terkenalnya dengan Bali,” tutur Menhub.

Turut hadir dalam peninjauan Direktur Jenderal Perhubungan Udara, M. Kristi Endah Murni, Direktur Jenderal Perhubungan Laut, Arif Toha, dan Wakil Gubernur Nusa Tenggara Timur, Josef Nae Soi.

Asyik, Ribuan Pekerja Kontruksi IKN Bisa Mudik Lebaran

Mudik bareng pekerja kontruksi di Ibu Kota Negara  Nusantara
Mudik bareng pekerja kontruksi di Ibu Kota Negara Nusantara  Rakyat Merdeka – Pemerintah melalui Kementerian Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahan Rakyat (PUPR) melaksanakan kegiatan “Mudik Bareng Pekerja Kontruksi Ibu Kota Nusantara (IKN) 2024” di kawasan IKN Nusantara, Jumat (5/4). 

Tercatat sekitar 10 ribu orang pekerja kontruksi IKN akan mudik ke kampung halamannya masing-masing dengan menggunakan berbagai sarana moda transportasi baik melalui kapal laut serta pesawat udara.

“Atas nama Menteri PUPR kami ingin mengucapkan terima kasih dan apresiasi atas dukungan kinerja serta kerja keras dari para pekerja konstruksi dalam pembangunan infrastruktur di IKN. Saya secara resmi melepas kegiatan “Mudik Bareng Pekerja Kontruksi IKN” semoga lancar dalam perjalanan mudiknya dan selamat sampai tujuan untuk kembali ke kampung halaman berkumpul bersama sanak keluarga di rumah,” ujar Direktur Jenderal Perumahan Kementerian PUPR, Iwan Suprijanto  saat melepas kegiatan tersebut secara online melalui zoom meeting.

Iwan menambahkan, seluruh pekerja kontruksi merupakan bagian dari Keluarga Besar PUPR. Mereka berperan penting dalam membangun berbagai infrastruktur serta hunian serta prasarana pendukung dan menjadi bagian dari sejarah dan legacy dari pembangunan IKN.

Lebih lanjut, Iwan menambahkan, kegiatan mudik lebaran merupakan suatu hal yang tidak bisa dihindarkan setiap tahun, khususnya menjelang Hari Raya Idul Fitri. 

Untuk itu, pemerintah juga memberikan hak kepada para pekerja untuk melaksanakan libur bersama guna menjalin tali silaturahmi bersama keluarga serta mendukung kelancaran proses perjalanan mudik para pekerja konstruksi di IKN. 

“Pada libur lebaran ini kami ingin melihat pekerja konstruksi juga bahagia dan bertemu dengan keluarga tercinta setelah beberapa lama dtinggalkan. Tapi kami juga berharap setelah selesai pekerja konstruksi bisa datang kembali sesuai jadwal untuk mendukung percepatan pembangunan di IKN,” terangnya.

Sementara itu, Kepala Balai Pelaksana Penyediaan Perumahan (BP2P) Kalimantan II Direktorat Jenderal Perumahan Kementerian PUPR, Anggoro Putro dalam laporannya menyampaikan bahwa untuk kegiatan “Mudik Bareng Pekerja Kontruksi Ibu Kota Nusantara (IKN) 2024” ini diikuti oleh ribuan pekerja. 

Ada sekitar 10 ribu lebih pekerja yang akan mudik ke kampong halaman, di mana sekitar 4.598 orang pekerja bekerja di sektor perumahan yakni dalam proyek pembangunan hunian untuk rumah susun (Rusun) ASN, TNI Polri dan Paspampres.  

Kementerian PUPR, imbuhnya, telah menyediakan berbagai sarana tranportasi seperti kapal laut dan pesawat udara untuk penerbangan komersial. 

Selain itu, Kementerian PUPR juga berkoordinasi dengan TNI Angkatan Udara untuk untuk memberikan dukungan moda transportasi bagi pekerja konstruksi dengan menggunakan pesawat hercules. Beberapa daerah yang menjadi tujuan para pekerja yang mudik antara lain Jawa Tengah seperti Solo, D.I Jogjakarta dan Jawa Timur seperti Surabaya. 

Berdasarkan data yang ada, jumlah pekerja konstruksi yang mengikuti kegiatan mudik bareng dari sektor perumahan sebanyak 4.598 orang. Rinciannya, sebanyak 1.730 orang menggunakan moda transportasi kapal laut, 1.258 orang menggunakan pesawat hercules dan 1.610 orang menggunakan pesawat komersial.

“Pekerja konstruksi yang bekerja di IKN berasal dari seluruh wilayah Indonesia. Mereka telah berpartisipasi melaksanakan pembangunan Rumah Tapak Jabatan Menteri (RTJM), rumah susun (Rusun) ASN, Polri BIN dan Paspampres. Semoga melalui kegiatan ini mereka memiliki semangat untuk membangun infrastruktur di IKN,” harapnya.