Tourism and nation-building in South Sulawesi: Tourism promotion as threat for national unity?

Seminar Paper, 1998

13 Pages, Grade: 2,5 (B)


Table of contents


1. The unity of Indonesia

2. Tourism policy in Indonesia

3. Tourism and nation-building in South Sulawesi
3.1. The religious and social relations of two different ethnic groups in South Sulawesi in a short history
3.2. How tourism came to Tana Toraja
3.3. The primadonas of South Sulawesi
3.4. The new reasons of envy by age-old ethnic groups because of promoting special touristic destinations
3.5 Positive and negative experiences with domestic tourism refering to interethnic relations and nation-building




In the 1970s the aim of the new Indonesians government was to lead the diverse, multicultural state to a national unity. This was a difficult task for which good ideas were necessary. By promoting tourism the government devised the most successful solution to approximate the aim of unity. Now, the government overlooked the historical ethnic boundaries and cultural and religious differences of some ethnic groups in Indonesia. Therefore some problems arised which must be seen as a threat for the national unity. In this homework I try to show which positive and negative effects the governments efforts had by promoting provincial identities as tourist destinations. I will show mainly the negative results of the governments tourist campaigns with the example of Toraja in South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

1. The unity of Indonesia

After pushing aside Sukarno, Suharto came to power in 1966 and his "New Order" regime ( "Orde Baru") began. It was the aim of the new regime to build a strong unitary state. With the time the state achieved a legitimacy and authority over the country as well as political stability which helped to approximate the aim of unity (Picard, 1995. Picard,1997. Rump & Urban, 1995). One handicap to reach this aim was, that " Indonesia is a country of extreme ethnic diversity and is geographically fragmented over an island arc of about five thousand kilometers" ( Picard, 1997: 192).

The state found some possible solutions in the form that " national integration became an undisputable reality through a steady centralisation of state power. National integration efforts have focused on promoting a national language through education, framing all individuals into standard structures and networks nationwide, incorporing remote communities into the mainstream of the national economy, and imposing universal religions in order to eradicate ` animist ` attitudes deemed harmful to national development "( Picard, 1997:196).

Now the most successful solution seemed to be the promoting of domestic and foreign tourism. Adams has summarized : " As an archipelago nation comprised of over three hundred ethnic groups and a multitude of religions, Indonesia faces the challenge of building a shared national consciousness. In addition to ubiquitous civic education in schools and on television, one way the Indonesian government strives to instill a broader sense of national unity is by championing tourism" ( Adams, 1997:156).

The idea to " instill a broader sense of national unity" by promoting tourism will dealt with in this paper later.

With the states motto " Unity in Diversity" ( Picard, 1997:196) the Indonesian government promised to emphasize provincial differentiation: " The Indonesian state is aiming to induce in each of its provinces a distinctive homogenous provincial identity, grounded on a single distinct set of unique cultural features, at the expense of the diverse ethnic cultures enclosed within their boundaries. Such provincial identities are promoted by the regional governments Thus, in promoting the so-called regional cultures, the state is playing the provinces not only against the various ethnic groups that compose them, but also against the regions proper, which, as political entities rooted in a specific history, are considered a threat to national unity" ( Picard, 1997:198).

We will see later at the example of South Sulawesi that the promoting of provincial identities often does not help to tie different ethnic groups to a national unity. It is difficult to avoid the arise of inter-ethnic rivalries especially when there already exists ethnic age-old rivalries. But the promoting of tourism seemed to be the best solution to find a new feeling of great ethnic pride for a multicultural nation and to contribute to the process of nation-building.

2. Tourism policy in Indonesia

It was in 1969 when tourism was first seen as a source of money, second to heighten the Indonesian nation to a higher place at the international level and third to lead the multicultural nation to a new feeling of uniqueness ( Adams, 1997). It was important that

" the unity of the nation-state was given first priority, to which all other interests were subordinated" ( Picard, 1997: 192). That should make it possible to reach the aim giving the multicultural nation a feeling of community and unity.


Excerpt out of 13 pages


Tourism and nation-building in South Sulawesi: Tourism promotion as threat for national unity?
University of Heidelberg  (Ethnology South Asiean Institute)
Tourism and Nation-building in the South Pacific
2,5 (B)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
397 KB
Tourism, South, Sulawesi, Tourism, Nation-building, South, Pacific
Quote paper
Marion Zimmermann (Author), 1998, Tourism and nation-building in South Sulawesi: Tourism promotion as threat for national unity?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: Tourism and nation-building in South Sulawesi: Tourism promotion as threat for national unity?

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free