Bella Evangelista, Jakarta – Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno responded with a more lenient approach to reports that Indonesian rice terraces were mistakenly featured in a Philippine government tourism campaign video.
"That's purely an unintentional mistake because to err is human. We don't need to react too emotionally," Sandiaga said during a weekly media briefing in Jakarta on Monday.
Sandiaga said that the Philippines, like many other countries, is facing challenges in rebuilding its tourism industry due to the severe economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic over the past three years.
He also highlighted the need to promote ASEAN as a unified destination rather than being limited by national boundaries while developing and promoting tourism.
"I can understand the difficulties facing my [Philippine] counterpart Madame Christina Frasco. But I also need to underline that in developing and promoting tourism we must not restrict ourselves to [national] boundaries but promote ASEAN as a single destination," Sandiaga said.
From a positive perspective, Sandiaga mentioned that the Philippine campaign video should make Indonesians proud, as it showcased the beauty of tourist spots in their country, which a neighboring country had chosen to feature.
"But the Philippines also has its own unique advantages not found in Indonesia," Sandiaga added.
The minister recalled watching the video titled "Love the Philippines" during a recent event in Cambodia and being intrigued by the paddy field scenery.
"I thought to myself 'it looks like an Indonesian scenery'," he said. He attributed this confusion to the fact that both Indonesia and the Philippines are tropical and archipelagic nations.
The video, launched on June 27, has since been removed from social media platforms after the advertising agency responsible for its creation admitted to using stock footage from various countries, including Indonesia, Brazil, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.
The specific location of the rice terraces featured in the video has been identified as Ubud in Bali.